Larry Bird Left Lakers Standout Defender Michael Cooper Shocked After Their First Matchup

Former Los Angeles Lakers stout defender Michael Cooper stood out as Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird‘s most challenging matchup. The two engaged in memorable battles that built tremendous mutual respect. In their first showdown, Bird left Cooper at a loss for words.

Larry Bird was a legendary trash talker

Bird established himself as one of the league’s greatest players behind his 13-year NBA career spent entirely with the Celtics.

He lifted the franchise to championship success behind three NBA titles in five Finals appearances. He won a pair of Finals MVP awards, earned three regular-season MVP awards, and received 12 All-Star selections and nine All-NBA First Team nods.

Beyond that, Bird built his prestigious legacy through his trash-talking as it garnered tremendous respect from his peers. The former Celtics great held no fear toward engaging in banter with opposing players, which led him to leave an unforgettable first impression on what turned out to be the most challenging individual matchup of his career.

Larry Bird feft Lakers standout defender Michael Cooper shocked after their first matchup

The fierce rivalry between the Celtics and Lakers featured intense matchups within the game.

One of the staples featured the battle between Larry Bird and Michael Cooper. New York Times Best-Selling author Jeff Pearlman, who wrote Showtime, a biography about the 1980s Lakers, discussed Cooper’s unforgettable reaction to guarding Bird for the first time.

“The first time he had to guard Larry Bird in a game, he assumed Larry Bird was an overrated white hype chump like a lot of the white players in the 1970s and early 80s,” Pearlman said in an interview with Sportsnaut. “So they are jogging back down the court and Bird is just chatting up Cooper, ‘I am going to wear your f–ing a– out. I’m going to wear your motherf–ing a– out.

“Cooper was like, ‘Who the hell is this little white f—k. He was like bring it motherf—er. Bring it. Let’s see what you got. He’s thinking this guy has nothing. It’s another white guy who can’t jump and probably sucks. Bird gets the ball, pump fakes, and whips a pass to Robert Parrish for a layup. They’re jogging back down the court, and Cooper is dumbfounded and Bird just smiles to Cooper and says “Wearing your motherf—ing ass all day long.”

Cooper entered the NBA in 1978 with the Lakers, a year before Bird joined the Celtics. He experienced guarding the star forward throughout his 12-year career with Los Angeles that featured numerous battles.

The two held tremendous respect for each other as Bird voiced that Cooper was the only player that slowed him down. Meanwhile, the former Lakers swingman has expressed on numerous occasions that the Celtics legend was the best player he ever played against.

It was a crucial part of the rivalry between the two historic franchises that spoke to their fierce competition.

“That was their rivalry, Lakers/Celtics and Cooper/Bird,” Pearlman said. “Heated and intense, but not hatred. A lot of respect between both teams, who wanted to beat the living snot out of each other.”

Larry Bird left an irreplaceable mark on the NBA

Bird‘s legendary trash talking became a key fixture in his legacy.

However, it was his ability to back up his brash words that left his peers respecting him more than his game. His impact on the NBA goes far beyond his play, as it played a pivotal part in shaping the league into what it has become.

Since stepping into retirement nearly three decades ago, his imprint has only grown stronger.

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