Former Boston Celtics great Larry Bird established himself as one of the game’s greatest players. Bird‘s legendary status came from more than his performance as his trash-talking added another layer to his legacy. It left numerous memorable moments for his peers, including former New York Knicks great Patrick Ewing.
Larry Bird’s illustrious NBA career
Bird spent his entire 13-year NBA career donning a Celtics uniform, where he established himself as an all-time great.
He earned numerous accolades, such as three NBA titles, two NBA Finals MVP awards, three regular-season MVP honors, 12 All-Star selections, nine All-NBA First Team nods, and the retirement of his No. 33 jersey. Bird also sits as the only forward in league history to win three straight regular-season MVP awards.
Bird served as a crucial component alongside former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson as key factors toward lifting the NBA to prominence. The intense rivalry generated tremendous national and worldwide popularity for the league and elevated him to legendary status.
A considerable part of his image became his trash-talking as numerous stories have cropped up regarding his banter over the years. One includes an unforgettable moment for fellow Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing.
Larry Bird mercilessly trash-talked Patrick Ewing about his defense: ‘You better sit down, you going to pop your arm out of your socket before you get this’
Bird never backed down from an opportunity to trash-talk an opponent on the court.
The player’s skill didn’t matter as Bird backed up his choice of words with his play. It left a strong imprint on many of his colleagues, including former New York Knicks star big man Patrick Ewing, who recounted an unforgettable exchange with the fellow Hall of Famer.
“He talks a lot,” Ewing recalled during an interview on the Arsenio Hall Show in 1994. “I remember a couple of times when he drove to the hole and I tried to block his shot and he was like, ‘You better sit down, you going to pop your arm out of your socket before you get this.'”
Bird and Ewing had many memorable on-court battles. The trash-talking formed a bond between the all-time greats during their brief time together playing for the 1992 Olympic Dream team.
The former Celtics great garnered tremendous respect from his peers through his play. The experience with Ewing is one of many instances in which Bird’s legendary trash-talking left an enduring imprint.
Larry Bird backed up his trash-talking with his play
Bird‘s iconic reputation as a trash-talker only further cemented the other memorable moments.
Regardless of the criticism of his physical ability, his performance on the court earned strong respect from his peers.
“He’s always talked trash,” Ewing said during an interview on the Dan Patrick Show. “He talked trash against us. He talked trash against everyone else, but you know what the difference is that he could back it up. Growing up in Boston, people talked about that he can’t jump, he can’t do this, he can’t do that. A lot of my friends were like that.
“I got to the league and I called all my friends back up and I said ‘All that trash that you were talking, you need to squash all that. This man is great. Whatever you were saying about a man that can’t jump, he’s demolishing everybody.”
Bird may not have been the most physically gifted player, but his talent more than made up for that.