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Michael Jordan remains arguably the greatest player in NBA history. Jordan’s dominance included his legendary status as a trash-talker. It’s a quality the former Chicago Bulls great once admitted he learned from fellow Hall of Famer Larry Bird.

Larry Bird’s legendary trash-talking reputation

Bulls star Michael Jordan practices for an All-Star game. Larry Bird looks on from the bench
Michael Jordan practices for an All-Star game. Larry Bird looks on from the bench. | Getty Images

For the last several decades, Bird’s strong reputation has stemmed from his tremendous talent.

The former Boston Celtics great experienced sustained success that cemented his legacy as an all-time great. He garnered 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 remains the only forward in NBA history to win three straight regular-season MVP awards. However, his trash-talking appeals most among his peers and fans alike. Bird never demonstrated fear of banter with his opponent during games or with teammates on the practice court.

He lived for the back-and-forth chatter that only fueled him to take his game to the next level. It’s that quality that Michael Jordan fully credits the fellow Hall of Famer for passing on to him.

Michael Jordan admitted he learned how to master trash-talking from Larry Bird

Beyond Jordan‘s dominance on the court, he garnered an unflappable reputation through his legendary trash-talking ability. According to The Athletic, it’s a skill that Jordan credited fellow Hall of Famer Larry Bird for teaching him to perfect.

 “Larry Bird is the greatest trash-talker and mind-game player of all time. He taught me everything I know about getting in folks’ heads,” Jordan said.

Throughout much of Bird’s career, he garnered tremendous respect from his peers through his play. However, it was his ability to back up his trash-talking that took it to another level — be it calling out his next shot or belittling his opponent as they attempted to defend him.

Bird never backed down from verbal barbs, which Jordan keenly adapted to his approach to the game. In many instances, it served as an additional source of motivation. Meanwhile, it was an effective method to get inside the head of the opposing player or team by creating fear or doubt.

Trash-talking isn’t for everyone, but Jordan made it a highly effective tool he could use to further mentally dissect or probe an opponent.

Michael Jordan’s NBA legacy left an irreplaceable imprint

Although Jordan‘s game more than spoke for itself, his trash-talking took it all to the next level.

The former Bulls great remains the gold standard to which all players aspire due to his utter dominance. Jordan accomplished it all on the court with six NBA titles, six NBA Finals MVPs, five regular-season MVP awards, 14 All-Star selections, a Defensive Player of the Year award, 10 scoring titles, and 10 All-NBA First Team selections.

Jordan significantly influenced generations of talent to adopt his approach to the craft to reach greatness. It served as a source of motivation for many all-time greats, such as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Allen Iverson, and Tracy McGrady.

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