Charles Barkley breaks down what really happened during the legendary fight between Larry Bird and Julius Erving in 1984

American Century Championship - Round One
American Century Championship - Round One

NBA players used to regularly get into brawls years ago. Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, it seemed as though altercations were common. One incident between Larry Bird and Julius Erving in the 1980s will forever live on as one of the craziest in NBA history.

On this day In 1984, the two undefeated teams clashed in Boston and Bird and Erving sparked a massive melee. Late in the third quarter, Bird and Erving came face to face after the Celtics star fell to the ground. As Bird then went to push Dr. J away, the 76ers legend held onto him, resulting in Bird taking a swing at Erving.

Dr. J fired back, letting punches fly as the situation immediately spilled over to the rest of both teams. Philadelphia's Charles Barkley and Moses Malone both jumped in, with Barkley grabbing Bird so Erving could tee off. Malone then grabbed onto Bird with a headlock as the brawl went to the ground.

Barkley recalled the fight during an "NBA on TNT" segment, much to the dismay of his co-hosts.

"The NBA said I was holding him," Barkley said. "I just I tried to break up a fight. I did try to break up a fight. I was just trying to break up the fight. I would never hold a guy and let another guy hit him. I was standing behind Larry Bird, and I tried to grab him. I didn't know Doc was hitting him until that fine came in the mail."

Even after the two teams were separated, the fight continued, with Malone punching M.L. Carr after the break. It was a wild scene that remains one of the most notable brawls in league history to this day.

You can watch the brawl in its entirety below, with Barkley's comments coming in the second half of the clip.

OTD (1984) Dr. J vs Larry Bird! No suspensions Doc & Bird were fined $7.5K eachMoses $3.5K & Barkley $1K for holding Bird while Doc repeatedly punched him. Billy Cunningham was fined $2.5K for "highly inflammatory' post-game comments

The aftermath of the brawl

Larry Bird at the 2018 NBA draft combine
Larry Bird at the 2018 NBA draft combine

In the aftermath of the brawl, several players were issued fines, something Barkley said Julius Erving still owes him for. For modern-day NBA fans, it's hard to comprehend the fact that no suspensions were issued. As fans know, physical altercations are taken extremely seriously by the league these days.

Several years ago, Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo were engaged in a scuffle that saw punches thrown. This resulted in a three-game suspension for Rondo, a two-game suspension for Paul and a four-game suspension for Brandon Ingram.

With the number of sponsors and partners the NBA has, it's no secret that the league wants to do everything possible to prevent fights like this.

Barkley was also involved in one of the other most notable fights in NBA history. The "Battle of the Charles'" saw Barkley and Charles Oakley come to blows over a decade later during a preseason game.

You can watch Oakley talk about that fight between the two Chucks from the 1996 NBA preseason below.


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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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