Larry Bird wanted to fight Eddie Johnson in a hotel room after Eddie punched him in the mouth: “We’ll see who can make someone bleed.”

Many stories perfectly describe Larry Bird’s impressive trash talents. The legend of the Boston Celtics gained a great reputation during his NBA career, trying to put himself in the shoes of his opponents and achieve it every time.

He is considered one of the best in that art as several players, such as Reggie Miller, Gary Payton, Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and more, found that Bird was not someone to mess with. Larry Legend didn’t care about the rival, he would always give his 100% to destroy the one in front of him.

Besides being a great trash can, he was a great player who supported his big mouth with his game. He wasn’t afraid of anyone and didn’t hesitate to get physical when things heat up. Eddie Johnson learned that during his very first year in the competition when Larry attacked him and let him know who he was.

“There is a certain game in Boston. I’m terrified already,” Johnson said during a recent interview on The Rex Chapman Show, via Sports Casting. “The veterans on my team said, ‘Eddie just isn’t paying attention to him.’ So I mind my own business on the jump. He’s just standing next to me and he leans over and he looks at and he said, ‘Do you really think that you’re going to guard me?” I just didn’t say anything.

“Then he gets up and he looks at our couch and he looks at Kyle. ‘Do you all think this rookie is going to guard me? Man, I’m destroying you!” Right in my ear. By this time, all the guys on the floor burst out laughing, even my teammates. I’m like, ‘Would this official please toss this ball.’

Johnson played a terrible game against the Celtics, but he would do anything to make sure Bird didn’t treat him with disrespect again. When they met for the second time, Eddie wouldn’t let Larry get away with it and decided to mock him too. Johnson would punch him in the mouth on the offensive side, which was a big mistake.

“I remember that. Later that year I had it rolling. I played better,” Johnson said. “He comes to Kansas City and starts with me again. So that time I go to him. One time I said, ‘I’m going to get him. I’m so tired of his mouth.’ So I drive and give him the fake and he goes for it I come up and I catch him right in the mouth [with my elbow] and I put it in for an And-1. I’m standing at the free-throw line and he says to me, ‘That’s all you can do is score. You can’t defend anyone.’

“I said, ‘I can do one thing, though, I can make you bleed.’ His mouth was bleeding. He didn’t like that.’

After that moment, Bird was ready for revenge and invited Johnson to meet him in his hotel room to settle the matter once and for all. Knowing Bird, he wanted to see what Eddie could do off the field and if he backed up his words.

“He reaches into his pocket, takes out his keys and tosses me his room key,” Johnson said. “He says, ‘Why don’t you come by the hotel so you and I can finish it alone and then we’ll see who can make someone bleed.’

“I started laughing and said, ‘Yeah, okay. I’d probably make your little bastard scream and he said, ‘No, let’s do it.’ Then I said, ‘Mchale and Parrish around the corner are ready to help you.’ When I said that, he started laughing and he looked at me and said, ‘I like you’ and he left.”

“After that, believe it or not, he never talked to me,” Johnson said. “He brought out what I withheld. Every time I saw him after that, I thanked him.”

There are plenty of stories about Larry taking on rivals. The Boston Celtics had a big rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers and Detroit Pistons, where the little forward didn’t hesitate to call people and get physical. The most (in)famous Larry fight took place against Julius Erving after he taunted the legend of the Philadelphia 76ers and asked him to guard him.

For example, we’ve heard many anecdotes about Bird’s trash-talking skills. He knew he was good at it and used it to his advantage. Sometimes it worked, sometimes he had to go the extra mile to assert his dominance, and sometimes players competed against him, like Johnson did during his rookie year.

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