Larry Bird is nicknamed Larry Legend for a reason: He did legendary things on the basketball court. And yet in the time since he retired in 1993, many have forgotten how mean a baller he was. Yes, he would drain jumpers with perfect form and rock no-look passes with finesse, but he also made defenders crumple with step-back jumpers and embarrassed opponents with fake passes. Bird will go down as one of the best ever, but as a recent highlight video by the NBA reminds us, he'll also go down as one of the most savage. Here are six of his gnarliest moments.
Dominated the Portland Trail Blazers With His Left Hand
Bird wasn't lying. He hit his first two shots with his left hand, and by the time the game was over (an OT win for the Celtics on a last-second shot by Bird, albeit right-handed), he'd scored 20 of his 47 points with his non-dominant hand. That's just rude.
Hit Two Game-Winning Shots in a Row From the Exact Same Spot
In a game against the Washington Bullets, Bird rose up and drained a 3-pointer from the right corner at the buzzer, which appeared to give the Celtics a last-second win. Except just before Bird began his shooting motion, the ref blew his whistle to grant Celtics head coach K.C. Jones a timeout. The shot didn't count.
"Larry comes back to the bench and he's a little upset," Jones would say later. "He looks at the bench and says, 'Hey guys, when I come back after the timeout, I'm going to go right back to the same spot and I'm going to put it in.'"
Guess what? Bird hustled back to the very same spot, received the inbounds pass and drilled the shot again. Celtics win.
His Filthy Step-Back Jumper
When you think about Larry Bird, you think about the short shorts, the mustache and one of the purest jump shots in the game. What you might not think about is his vicious step-back jumper, a move so filthy that it consistently made his defender fall to the floor like Bird was on the And 1 Mixtape tour. To pour extra salt in that embarrassing wound, when Bird realized that you'd fallen to the floor, he'd pause for dramatic effect before burying a jumper. That's when you've got to take off your shoes and jersey and go home.
His Iconic Fake Pass
Rajon Rondo is probably the modern king of the fake pass. He uses it often when driving to the hole. He fakes like he's going to throw a behind-the-back pass, then brings the ball back around for a layup. It's left plenty of defenders looking like they're out on a search party.
But Bird sold the fake pass better than anyone in NBA history. He would put so much oomph into it that it was a miracle the ball didn't come flying out of his hands. But much like Peyton Manning executing a perfect play-action pass, Bird's ball fakes were so good they sometimes made defenders spin around in a 180 to find out where the ball went. Of course, it was still in Bird's hands as he waltzed to the hoop. Savage.
Won the 1988 3-Point Contest Without Taking Off His Warm-ups
Returned From a Broken Cheekbone to Bury the Indiana Pacers in the 1991 Playoffs
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