"Y’all being disrespectful to me" - Charles Barkley shares an amusing anecdote about Larry Bird, mentions the Celtics legend got offended when he was guarded by a "white guy"

Charles Barkley has some of the best Larry Bird stories to tell. [Photo: Duke Baketball Report]
Charles Barkley has some of the best Larry Bird stories to tell. [Photo: Duke Baketball Report]

Legendary Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird is almost by consensus the best trash-talker in NBA history. Michael Jordan himself concedes that no one talks smack better than the “Hick from French Lick.” What made Bird so effective as a talker was his almost unfailing ability to back up his words.

For a guy who’s always at a disadvantage due to his lack of athleticism, Larry Bird was one confident dude. He would often seek out the toughest defenders, who are almost always the most athletically gifted players in the NBA.

In Jackie MacMullan’s the Icons Club, the veteran sportswriter pulled up an old Charles Barkley interview narrating how Bird hated white players guarding him:

“I was playing against the Celtics early in my career and Bird is like, ‘Charles, I need to talk to you.’ I’m like, ‘What’s going on LB?’ He says, ‘Y’all being disrespectful to me. Y’all actually putting a white guy on me. Y’all know a white guy can’t guard me.”

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Considering that the three-time MVP is white, Bird’s trash-talking was just on another level. One of the NBA’s most versatile and clutch performers didn’t want to take any shortcuts when proving his abilities. It was his nature to get himself hyped up against the best and toughest assignments.

In a 2004 interview with ESPN, Larry Bird revealed how much he admired the athleticism of African-American players. It almost always makes them the better defenders, aided to no lesser degree by their nature:

“It is a black man's game, and it will be forever. I mean, the greatest athletes in the world are African-American."

So when it comes to someone like him who is athletically challenged, here’s what Bird had to say in the same ESPN interview:

"As far as playing, I didn't care who guarded me -- red, yellow, black. I just didn't want a white guy guarding me. Because it's disrespect to my game."

Ultimately, it didn’t matter who guarded “Larry Legend.” In his prime, he was untouchable. He was a three-time MVP and never dropped below third place in the best player voting in eight straight years.

An argument could easily have been made that if not for injuries, he could have been the dominant player in the 80s instead of his rival Magic Johnson.

Larry Bird owned the Philadelphia 76ers in Charles Barkley’s time

Charles Barkley struggled to win against Larry Bird in the 80s. [Photo: Basketball Network]
Charles Barkley struggled to win against Larry Bird in the 80s. [Photo: Basketball Network]

When Charles Barkley entered the league in the 1984-85 season, Larry Bird was at his absolute best. Bird was in the middle of his three-year MVP haul in Barkley’s rookie season. Although the Philadelphia 76ers still had Moses Malone and Julius Erving, the Celtics were undoubtedly the dominant force in the East during that time.

“Sir Charles” would get a baptism of fire in the postseason in his rookie campaign where Philly faced off against rivals Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. Boston, the defending champs, practically toyed with the 76ers before ending Philly’s misery in five games.

Barkley had a bad start to his career at the old Boston Garden, where he would lose his first 13 matches, including the postseason, against the Boston Celtics.

The “Round Mound of Rebound” would eventually get his first win on the Celtics’ home floor in 1988, four years since the 76ers drafted him. Barkley’s relief was so profound that he had this to say:

“I’m glad that whole tribe of monkeys is off my back.”

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