This story of Larry Bird trash-talking Rodney Rogers is a classic


There's never a bad time for a new Larry Bird trash-talk story -- especially the one Jamal Mashburn told this week.

In addition to being one of the best NBA players of all time, Bird was a ruthless competitor who hated losing. The Boston Celtics legend didn't turn his competitive streak off during practice, either -- as Mashburn attested to on a recent episode of "The Knuckleheads" podcast with Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson.

Here's the setup: Mashburn and a group of college stars called the "Select Team" were brought in to scrimmage the 1992 U.S. men's Olympic basketball team, aka the "Dream Team" of Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan and other NBA superstars.

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The Select Team famously upset the Dream Team in the scrimmage, and when the players got back to the hotel, one of Mashburn's teammates, Rodney Rogers, took what he thought was a friendly jab at Bird while Johnson was within earshot.

"Hey Larry, you ain’t hit a jumper since ’84," Rogers told Bird, according to Mashburn.

Mashburn didn't think anything of Rogers' comment at the time ... but Bird did.

Here's what happened at practice the next day, according to Mashburn:

"This was when I was like, ‘This is a different breed.' Magic Johnson fed Larry Bird the ball probably about eight times in a row down court. Larry Bird got the ball on Rodney Rogers, and every time he was about to make a move, he told him what he was going to do.

"'One dribble, pull-up, going left, off glass.' Bucket. 'One dribble going right, spin, shot.' Bucket. He scored nine times or eight times in a row, left the court to go lay down because he couldn't sit on a bench ... because of his back (injury), and said, 'Young fella: Look like '84, huh?'"


Shawn Kemp recalls Larry Bird ruthlessly trash-talking him in 1989

Celtics fans will recall Bird subjecting Xavier McDaniel to the same fate, telling the Seattle SuperSonics forward, "I'm gonna get it right here and I'm shooting right in your face!" before drilling a clutch jumper.

Bird was at the tail end of his basketball career in 1992 and was battling a debilitating back injury, but the moral of the story here is to never, under any circumstances, trash-talk Larry Bird.

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