Hall-of-Famer Reveals Wild Story of Celtics Legend’s ‘Disrespectful’ Trash Talk


    Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics.

    There are few franchises around the league that are home to more legends than the Boston Celtics. The only team that comes even remotely close is the Los Angeles Lakers. Historically speaking, the Celtics have dominated.

    From Bill Russell to Paul Pierce, there are plenty of legends who have donned the green and white. But while Russell and Pierce are some of the game’s best players, there’s one player who’s impossible to forget when discussing the Celtics: Larry Bird.

    Bird is not only one of the best players of all time, but he’s also one of the best trash talkers. On the June 3 edition of The Old Man & The Three podcast with JJ Redick and Tommy Alter, NBA Hall-of-Famer Gary Payton gave a detailed explanation of Bird’s legendary trash talk.

    “He was cold, man. He’d tell you like this, he would bend down, says say it soft to you, he was like, you know what, I don’t know what you got for Christmas, but I know what I’m gonna give you,” Payton told Redick and Alter. “What I’m gonna do is, I’m gonna take on this block, I’m gonna dribble two times, and then I’m gonna pull up in your face and net is gonna say, swoosh. And then that’s gonna be your Christmas present from me. I was like, whoa, you cold with that one, man.”

    That wasn’t the extent of Payton’s story, though. He went on to explain how Bird would belittle his opponents on the court.

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    Bird Told Opponents That He Was Better

    According to Payton, Bird would often tell his opponents that they couldn’t stop him. The Celtics legend was supremely confident in his ability to dominate and he was not afraid to let his opponents know it.

    “He used to tell you where he was gonna shoot it in your face, and how you couldn’t stop him, and how you ain’t no good to him. And I was like, whoa, man, that’s just a little bit disrespectful. And then, it would happen. That’s the whole cold thing about it,” Payton explained.

    Bird ended his legendary career with averages of 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 6.3 assists on 49.6% shooting from the field and 37.6% shooting from distance. He was a 12-time All-Star, 10-time All-NBA selection, three-time All-Defensive Team member, three-time MVP, and three-time champion.

    Payton continued on with his story, dispelling the myth that Bird was slow and unathletic.

    Bird ‘Had the Ultimate Game’

    While the common knock on Bird’s game was that he was too slow, Payton pushed back on that notion, saying that Bird “had the ultimate game.”

    “Everybody used to say Larry Bird was slow and all that. Game. I don’t care what nobody says, he had the ultimate game, and he used to back it up,” said Payton.

    Payton was only in the league for two years at the same time as Bird, as he entered the NBA in 1990. Evidently, that was enough time for him to appreciate Bird’s game and realize how much of a competitor the Celtics legend truly was.

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