Larry Bird is regarded as one of the best players of all time. When you are a player of his caliber, it is only natural to get a bit arrogant. In Bird's case, he had the talent to back up his arrogance.
One instance that perfectly explains it is when a rookie Dominique Wilkins faced off against Larry Bird. We are already aware Wilkins will go down as a solid player and get inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, but at that time, to Bird, he was a mere rookie.
Wilkins shared his first encounter with the Celtics legend. Wilkins revealed:
"I remember the first time I played against Bird, I'll never forget this. I go to shake his hand - I'm a rookie, playing against the Boston Celtics in the Boston Garden - go to shake and Larry put both hands behind his back. He wouldn't shake my hand. And I said, 'Ok, he's just getting into the game," Wilkins said.
"First play of the game he said, 'You don't even belong in this league, Holmes,' and he shoots a three. Now, I wasn't mad that he made the three, but I said, 'Did this son of a b**** just call me holmes?' and came down and did it again, so I'm pissed. So next time down - see me on the break in that picture - and I jump up, and I throw it down on him, right? I mean he fouls me. And he says, 'Hey rook, I like you. You got heart."
Despite Bird admitting that Wilkins got great fighting spirit, he still told him that he would be dropping 40 on him. Although Bird didn't finish with 40 points, he was just a point shy of it.
The interaction with Bird shared by Wilkins proved not only did Bird had immense talent, but he was great at trash-talking too. For some players, it can break their rhythm and ultimately tilt the game in Larry's team's favor.
It's no surprise that Bird dominated the NBA during his playing days and won several accolades throughout his career.
The only player that came close to him during his prime was the Los Angeles Lakers superstar Magic Johnson.