The taunts Larry Bird used to lob his opponents’ way are the stuff of legend. But according to the Boston Celtics great, he wasn’t even the most prolific trash-talker on his own team.
Bird, now president of the Indiana Pacers, said this week in a lengthy Q&A with ESPN.com’s Mike Mazzeo that former teammates Kevin McHale, Cedric Maxwell and Danny Ainge all “talked more junk than I did.”
McHale, the Hall of Famer said, pulled no punches, once even victimizing an old friend with a particularly cold-hearted move.
“Kevin McHale, one time, did one of the dirtiest things anybody can do to an opposing player,” Bird told Mazzeo. “He told his buddy, a college friend, a teammate (at one point) at the end of the game in Golden State we were up pretty big — and we were just getting ready to go out of the game — and Kevin told him when he came in, he said, ‘When you get the ball in the low post, you just turn and shoot it over me, and I’ll just act like I’m defending you.’ Sure enough, they threw it in there, he turned and Kevin batted the shot about six rows up into the stands. And I mean I felt so bad for the guy, and the guy was pissed. And I went over to (Celtics coach) K.C. Jones and I said, ‘Get me out of here. This kid’s out of control, this kid’s out of control.’ It was the worst thing I’d ever seen on the basketball court, but that’s why I remember it to this day. You don’t do that to your friend (laughs).”
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images