At the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, there was one player that seemed to steal the show. In the final seconds of the quarter, a video was shown of Larry Bird trash-talking Patrick Ewing. Many believe that the video was not meant to be shown to the world, but was instead directed at Ewing, as a way to apologize for the shoving incident at the end of the regular season. However, fans of both Bird and Ewing should be grateful that the video was shown (or at least, made public). The video could have easily been misconstrued as a way of bullying Ewing, and the relationship between the two stars could have been irreparably damaged. There is no doubt that this was a form
In a recent article in the New York Times, Larry Bird was quoted as saying, “I’ve been his friend since he’s been in high school,” Bird says, and this is true. Bird met Patrick at Catholic High School of Fairport, New York, where Bird used to play basketball as a teen. The pair got along so well with each other that they became friends despite being opposites in many ways.
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Overall, running into Larry Bird wasn’t a pleasant experience. Not only was the Boston Celtics’ great capable of destroying any defender, but he also had a flair for delivering some stinging trash talk. It was going to be a long night if you were assigned to protect Larry Legend.
Patrick Ewing, on the other hand, was not one to back down from a fight. In fact, the big guy had an unexpected reaction to Bird’s trash talk: he struck up a relationship with the sniper.
Larry Bird was a gifted offensive player as well as a ruthless trash talker.
Guys like Michael Jordan and Gary Payton are remembered as some of the greatest trash talkers in NBA history. When it came to verbal combat, Larry Legend was no slouch.
Bird’s achievements were mostly based on his own self-assurance and ability. His trademark move was informing a defender how he intended to score and then executing just that. He’d be a bit more specific on occasion, such as telling the Phoenix Suns that he was weary of playing against them before converting a game-winning shot.
The Celtics star, on the other hand, became a little more aggressive on times. Bird would loom over teammates during Boston Celtics workouts and warn them about his intentions to murder them on the court, according to reports. Opponents were clearly subjected to a great deal of verbal abuse as well. Dominique Wilkins, for example, was welcomed to the NBA by Larry Legend during his rookie season. Among other things, Bird remarked, “You don’t belong in this league, Homes.”
Despite all of this, the Celtics star was well-liked by his teammates. Bird was also dubbed the greatest trash talker Michael Jordan had ever faced, with Larry Legend using “good garbage, not filthy trash,” according to Michael Jordan.
After seeing Larry Legend’s trash talk firsthand, Patrick Ewing struck up a relationship with him.
Bird’s trash language may seem to be a severe instance of poor sportsmanship in isolation, and a cause to shun the Celtics star. Patrick Ewing, on the other hand, went the other way and built up a relationship with the living legend.
“During the Dream Team, Larry and I grew to be great friends,” Ewing said on a 2018 episode of The Dan Patrick Show. “And, you know, it’s kind of amusing. He was full of nonsense. Always a trash talker. He was talking a lot of trash on the floor during the Dream Team, and that’s how it started.”
While Bird’s competitive hunger and frequent verbal jabs may have turned off some, the Knicks big man started to connect with Larry Legend.
Ewing added, “He’s constantly talking crap to me, talking garbage to the rest of the guys.” “So I’m talking trash back to him, and it just clicked,” she says. We began hanging together because we were constantly talking trash to one other. You know, going out to supper, going out to lunch, and just spending a lot of time together. We’ve simply formed a wonderful friendship.”
Larry Bird had such an impact on Ewing that he defended the Celtics star’s credentials.
On the NBA court, Patrick Ewing (center) and Larry Bird (left) fight it out. Contributor | Bettmann
However, Ewing’s affection for Bird was not confined to their relationship. The center even went back to some childhood pals to protect Larry Legend’s honor on one occasion.
“Growing up in Boston, everyone used to say that [Bird] couldn’t leap, that he couldn’t do this, that he couldn’t do that,” Ewing remembered. “You know, a lot of my pals were like that. So I arrived to the league and reconnected with all of my pals. ‘You know, all that garbage you were talking about?’ I say. All of it must be squashed. This guy is incredible. Whatever you were saying, he’s destroying everyone for a guy who can’t leap.’
While the exact date of the discussion is unknown, it is fair to presume it occurred before the two men joined up in Barcelona. Ewing joined the NBA in 1985, so even if he didn’t speak to those buddies right away, he still had plenty of time to be inspired by Bird before 1992.
A common belief among players is that “game recognizes game,” implying that on-court rivalry can be overcome through mutual respect. In the instance of Patrick Ewing and Larry Bird, it seems that they went a step farther and established a genuine relationship.
Larry Bird ‘Schooled’ a Young Dennis Rodman With Some of His Signature Trash Talk: ‘Dennis, Are You Guarding Me?’ RELATED: Larry Bird ‘Schooled’ a Young Dennis Rodman With Some of His Signature Trash Talk: ‘Dennis, Are You Guarding Me?’
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