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Larry Bird Injured His Finger In A Bar Fight, Won $160 In A Free-Throw Shooting Contest With His Hand Taped Up And Then Played The Next Night With The Money In His Shoe

Larry Bird Injured His Finger In A Bar Fight, Won $160 In A Free-Throw Shooting Contest With His Hand Taped Up And Then Played The Next Night With The Money In His Shoe

Larry Bird was a colorful character, the man was by no means someone who didn't enjoy getting into it with anyone who wished to challenge him. His feisty nature was a byproduct of his competitive spirit and with Bird, the one thing that no one could doubt was the fact that he would back it up. So it's no surprise to hear that even when Larry Legend was winning NBA titles, he was having some fun scuffles off the court as well. 

In 1985, Bird was already a champion, an MVP and a Finals MVP and was in the absolute prime of his career. The rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers and Magic Johnson was at its peak and the two would meet in the finals again that season. However, before that Bird had to get through the Eastern Conference and the Philadelphia 76ers in the Conference Finals. 

Well, not only did he and his Celtics manage that in 5 games, Bird engaged in some extra-curriculars before one of the games. The story is recorded in Jeffrey Lane's book, "Under the Boards", and is frankly quite wild. 

"After injuring a finger in a bar fight during the 1985 Conference finals against the Sixers, Bird was practicing with his fingers heavily taped. When Shaughnessy asked doubtfully if he was going to play like that in the game, Bird informed the reporter that he could tape up his entire hand and still outshoot him. He then had the trainer tape his shooting hand into a fist and challenged Shaughnessy to a shooting competition: one hundred free throws at $5 a shot.

"The two took turns shooting in rounds of ten. Bird, resting the ball on the palm of his bound right fist and guiding it with his left hand, made eight-six shots, and Shaughnessy owed him $160. After the reporter paid up the next day before the Sixers Game, Bird, like a cruel older brother, placed the right twenty-dollar bills in his sock and played the whole game with the money in his shoe."

The Celtics would go on to win the series 4-1, a gentleman's sweep and an incredible showing considering all these other shenanigans that their best player was getting himself into. Bird averaged over 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists in the series. They would lose against the Lakers in the Finals, but it's clear to see that when he was at the top of his game in the 80s, Bird could pretty much get away with doing whatever he wanted.