1.23.2008

More Bird Trash Talk

After Bird made four straight baskets with Rodman guarding him, he ran over to Chuck Daly and asked "who's guarding me, Chuck? Is anyone guarding me? You better get someone on me or I'm gonna go for 60." Then he'd continue the banter the next time he got the ball with Rodman inches away.

"I started talking a little trash to him," Horace Grant recalled, when the Celtics were the defending champions. "I'm saying, 'You're not going to score. You're not getting this basket. I remember him then telling me exactly what he was going to do to me. He says he's going to fake me left and then he's going to shoot a right-hand hook over me. And then he goes and does it and scores."

On a West Coast trip in 1986, Bird told the entire Dallas Mavericks bench that after the time out, Ainge would inbounds the pass to DJ, who would hit Bird in the corner where Bird would step back and take a three. "So you got that?" Bird queried the bench. "I'm gonna stand right here. I'm not going to move. They'll pass me the ball, and the next sound you here will be the ball hitting the bottom of the net." And that's exactly what happened. Bird winked at the Maverick before heading back down to the other end of the court.

When the Indiana Pacers put rookie George McCloud on Bird in the closing minutes of a game, Bird yelled over to the Pacers bench, "Hey, I know you guys are desperate, but can't you find someone who at least has prayer?"

Longtime NBA radio announcer Ted Davis, now the voice of the Milwaukee Bucks, told the Milwaukee Journal the best trash talker he had seen was Larry Bird. "You never knew it because you couldn't see his lips move," he said. "He had no lips."

After Craig Hodges won the NBA All-Star Game Three-Point contest in Bird's absence, Hodges was asked if the victory was tainted because Bird hadn't participated. "He knows where he can find me," was Hodges retort. Told of Hodges' challenge, Bird replied, "Yeah, at the end of the Bulls bench."

Knicks' forward Charles Smith remembers when Bird barked "Sorry, Charlie," as he released a long, last-second shot to win a game. "That kind of a thing makes you want to jump on a guy," said Smith.

Heat forward Glen Rice said, "When Bird started lighting you up and talking trash, that's hard on you. It's like driving a stake through your heart."

The year after Bird greeted fellow three-point shooting contest participants by asking which one of them would finish in second place behind him, Dale Ellis told the press that Bird didn't have much to say this year. "There was no need to talk this time," Bird replied,"we all knew who was going to win."

Bird even precipitated a fight with Julius Erving by repeating a single phrase over and over. The phrase? 42-5, or the number of points each had scored during an easy Boston victory.

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