Larry Bird is one of the legendary trash talkers in NBA history.
Dominique Wilkins, the Human Highlight Reel and Hawks legend turned broadcaster (and team VP), seems to have great stories about everyone he played against back in the day.
With the East leading Hawks swinging through Boston this week, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald got Wilkins talking and telling stories about Bird. Remember those two had some epic playoff battles, including one of the all-time greats back in 1988.
Wilkins had a new story about Bird’s legendary lip, talking about the 1983 season when Dominique was a rookie and Bird was a champion and at the top of his trash talking game.
“One of the first times I ever played against him, I went out for the opening tip and I went to shake his hand. He just stood there and looked at me stone-faced with his hands behind his back,” Wilkins said recently.
“I was like, ‘Whoa.’ Then we were getting ready for the tip and he says to me, ‘You don’t belong in this league, Homes.’ I couldn’t believe it, but it happened so fast, I didn’t know what to think.
“Then they had the ball and I was on him and he said, ‘I don’t know why they got you guarding me, Homes. You can’t guard me.’ Then, whap, he hit a 3. Then he came down again and said, ‘They made a mistake putting you on me, Homes,’ and he took another 3.”
Wilkins was a prideful player, admits he was getting hot.
“Then a little while later, I came down on a break and he was backpedaling. I just went right after him. I jumped up and he tried to challenge, but I took that right through the rim. He fell and hit the basket support.
“He got up and said, ‘I like you, rookie. You’ve got (guts).’ I was happy for a second, and then he said, ‘But I’m still going for 40 on you tonight.’ ”
He then paused the story, stepped back and smiled.
“But I got him,” Wilkins said. “He only scored 39.”