Larry Bird is one of the greatest trash talkers of all time. While his talent on the court was incredible and established him as one of the all-time greats, the thing that set him aside from other NBA legends was his ability to trash talk. Bird could be considered one of the greatest trash talkers of all time.
John Stockton experienced Larry Bird's trash talk when he once walked past the Jazz bench and said he felt like 43 points. Players always learned, one way or another, that going head to head with Larry Bird in a verbal game is not a smart idea. Reggie Miller had to find that out the hard way.
During a close Pacers-Celtics game, Larry Bird was sent to the free-throw line with 20 seconds to go. It hasn't been specified which game this came from when the story was retold, but our research suggests it could be two games from that season; 15th November 1987, and 15th March 1988.
Miller tried to heckle Larry Bird and talk trash to him while he was at the free-throw line. In response, Larry Bird clapped back at him by reminding Miller that he was the best shooter in the league and that Miller had no grounds to say anything to him, especially about his shooting prowess.
"Rook, I am the best f*cking shooter in the league. In the league, understand? And you’re up here trying to f*cking tell me something?"
Much like Bird, Miller eventually became the best shooter in the league. This is why these comments in hindsight are just so much funnier. Miller was not the only player that was on the receiving end of trash talk from Larry Bird. Even Michael Jordan said that he learned his ability to trash talk from Larry Bird.
Miller and Bird played against each other 15 times. Of these 15 games, Larry Bird won 9, whereas Miller won 6. Larry Bird averaged 24.5 points while Reggie Miller averaged 20.7 points per game during these encounters.
Larry Bird clearly knew that no one could say anything to him that could affect his game. Eventually, he and Reggie Miller would actually have a strong relationship, when Bird became the head coach of the Indiana Pacers and built a team around Miller that almost toppled the Chicago Bulls in 1998, and reached the NBA Finals in 2000.