Larry Bird may perhaps be the NBA legend that has had the most stories told about what he was like when he was playing in the league. Larry was a legendary trash-talker, someone that knew exactly how to get into opponents' heads, and what made it extremely effective is that he would back it up with some truly mind-boggling scoring displays.
Larry Legend once had the opposing team's bench cheering for him in a game against the Atlanta Hawks with an insane shooting night that saw him drop 60. Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins once told the story from his perspective on Open Court, explaining that Bird did it after promising to eclipse teammate Kevin McHale's historic performance some games prior.
(starts at 35:17 minutes):
"I'll give you a game. Well, Kevin McHale scored 57 one night, so Bird said, 'I'm gonna break your record against Atlanta'. I'm like, 'Won't get 55, not here.' Well, he got so hot in that game that you talk about that patented step back, he was doing that step back and he switched it to his left hand three separate times that game. Hit a three. He was scoring anywhere on the floor he wanted and the bench was giving him 5s... Every one of those guys got fined 3,000 dollars. I've never seen a guy get that before."
Larry Bird shot 22 of 36 from the field in that game, going on a monster 14-minute run that saw him score 32 points by himself. There is simply no defense against that kind of greatness and the Hawks players were aware of it as well.
Some moments and games set the greatest of all time apart from the rest, and it's thinking about performances like these that truly provide perspective on how special Larry Legend was. A few players may have managed to get greater numbers than that, but no single performance can be argued to be outright better than Larry Bird's against the Hawks.