Larry Bird Talks Some Smack After Learning NBA Playoff Award Named After Him

Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird has always been one of the NBA’s great all-time trash talkers. And clearly, he hasn’t lost his touch.

Bird was informed Thursday that the league will name the new Eastern Conference playoffs MVP award in his honor. The West award playoff MVP award will be named after Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, Bird’s close friend and one-time rival.

After learning of the award from NBA front-office man Mark Tatum, Bird smiled.

“I just wish I could win one of them Magic Johnson trophies,” he joked. “That’d be the highlight of my career.”

Bird won three MVPs and the Celtics won three championships in the 1980s, a stretch that many still consider to be pro basketball’s golden era. Johnson, of course, won five titles, with the Lakers beating Bird’s Celtics in two out of their three Finals matchups.

But while Magic always smiled as a player, Bird off sneered. And talked lots of junk all along the way. So it’s actually kind of nice to see that nothing has changed.

To understand just how ruthless Bird could be, well, check out this recent tale from former Seattle SuperSonics star Shawn Kemp.

“We were playing the Boston Celtics, so the great Larry Bird. I’m from Indiana and Larry’s from Indiana,” Kemp said on a podcast hosted by Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles. “I knew about the history of Larry but I didn’t realize how he really got down. …

“Larry gave me 50 [points] in three quarters. And he talked to me the whole entire game. He asked me at the jump ball, ‘You’re the one that broke all my records in high school right?’ and I said ‘Yeah, that’s me.’ and he said ‘I’ve got something for you tonight.'”

For the record, Bird finished that game with 40 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.


Written by Sam Amico

Sam Amico is the assistant managing editor-newsdesk at OutKick. He is also the co-founder and senior writer at, and has covered the NBA for nearly 20 years, including his time at Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports and CBS Sports. A native of Akron, Ohio, his writing career began in Wyoming.

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