Nothing beats a good Larry Bird story. So, we’d like to thank one of Bird’s old rivals for bringing us this gem.
With the Atlanta Hawks set to visit TD Garden this Wednesday, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald caught up with Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins, who shared one of his earliest memories of Larry Legend.
“One of the first times I ever played against him, I went out for the opening tip and I went to shake his hand. He just stood there and looked at me stone-faced with his hands behind his back,” Wilkins told Bulpett.
“I was like, ‘Whoa.’ Then we were getting ready for the tip and he says to me, ‘You don’t belong in this league, Homes.’ I couldn’t believe it, but it happened so fast, I didn’t know what to think.
“Then they had the ball and I was on him and he said, ‘I don’t know why they got you guarding me, Homes. You can’t guard me.’ Then, whap, he hit a three. Then he came down again and said, ‘They made a mistake putting you on me, Homes,’ and he took another three.”
Wilkins went on:
“So now I’m hot,” he said. “I’m hot. I mean, I’m steaming.
“Then a little while later, I came down on a break and he was backpedaling. I just went right after him. I jumped up and he tried to challenge, but I took that right through the rim. He fell and hit the basket support.
“He got up and said, ‘I like you, rookie. You’ve got (guts).’ I was happy for a second, and then he said, ‘But I’m still going for 40 on you tonight.’ ”
So, did he?
“But I got him,” Wilkins said in conclusion. “He only scored 39.”
Check out Bulpett’s full piece for much more from Wilkins, who said he wouldn’t trade his battles with Bird “for nothing in the world.”
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