There are few franchises in the league that are home to more legends than the Boston Celtics. The only team even remotely close is the Los Angeles Lakers. Historically, the Celtics have dominated.
From Bill Russell to Paul Pierce, there are many legends who have attracted the green and white. But while Russell and Pierce are among the best players in the game, there’s one player who can’t be forgotten when talking about the Celtics: Larry Bird.
Not only is Bird one of the greatest players of all time, he’s also one of the greatest trash talkers. In the June 3 issue The old man and 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 would tell you like this, he would bend down, says say it to you softly, he said you know what, I don’t know what you got for Christmas but I know what I’m going to give you, ” Payton said Redick and dude. “What I’m going to do is, I’m going to take that block, I’m going to dribble twice, and then I’m going to pull in your face and the net is going to say: rush. And that will be your Christmas present from me. I was like, whoa, you’re cold, man.”
That wasn’t the scope of Payton’s story, however. He went on to explain how Bird would belittle his opponents on the court.
Bird told his opponents that he was better
According to Payton, Bird often told his opponents that they could not stop him. The Celtics legend was absolutely convinced of his dominance and wasn’t afraid to convey that to his opponents.
“He used to tell you where he was going to shoot you in the face and that you couldn’t stop him and that you were no use 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 averaging 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists on 49.6% shots from the field and 37.6% shots 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 his story, dispelling the myth that Bird was slow and unsportsmanlike.
Bird ‘had the ultimate game’
While the usual catchphrase for Bird’s game was that he was too slow, Payton dismissed that notionwho said that Bird “had the ultimate game”.
“Everybody always said Larry Bird was slow and stuff. Game. I don’t care what nobody says, he had the ultimate game and he always supported it,” Payton said.
Payton was in the league concurrent with Bird for just two years when he joined the NBA in 1990. Obviously, that was enough time for him to appreciate Bird’s game and how much of a competitor the Celtics legend really was.