Magic Johnson and Larry Bird made up one of the best rivalries we've seen on the basketball court. They were clearly the best players in their era, and they played for two rival franchises as well, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics.
When there is a rivalry between two players, it often involves trash talk from them to one another. That was most definitely the case for Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Magic Johnson has recently opened up on the trash talk he received from Larry Bird when closing him out, and it's clear from the segment that Larry Bird was supremely confident in his abilities.
As I'm running out to Larry Bird, he's talking trash to me.
"I don't know why you're running out here." Who says that in the middle of the game?
He says, "Imma wait till you get one step away from me and Imma shoot it right in your face"
So I got one step away, he shoots it, all net. 3PTer, good.
He turns to me and says, "You did all that running for nothing".
There's no doubt that Larry Bird made a reputation as an amazing trash talker during his playing days. Gary Payton once even said that Larry Bird was the "coldest dude" he's seen regarding trash-talking.
"Bird used to tell me 'Look here man. I'm gonna go shoot this muthaf*cking jumper in your face right there in that corner. And it's gonna be your Christmas present. I'm gonna wrap it up and bust your head open.' All that sh*t. He was the coldest dude I've ever seen with that sh*t man. Everybody be talking about these great greats and we always mention him, he was the sh*t. He give it to you any way he wanted to. Larry Bird was cold. Cold dude man, real cold."
Larry Bird was obviously good enough to be able to talk trash to Magic Johnson, and he was able to back his talk up as well. Most people have Larry Bird as a top-10 player ever, and it's hard to find a lot of legends that have better resumes than him.
Based on the stories told about him, Larry Bird was a player that knew how good he was and also knew how to get in an opponent's head with his trash talk. There are a lot of people who respect him for his ability to talk trash, and it's clear that Larry Bird wouldn't back down from jawing with opposing players.