Larry Bird was a basketball legend and one of the most respected players in NBA history. He is also known for his great response when he was asked what he would’ve said to Bill Laimbeer if he showed up for Larry Bird Night.
The when did larry bird retire is a question that has been asked many times. Larry Bird had a classic response when asked what he would’ve said to the hated Bill Laimbeer had he showed up for Larry Bird Night.
Since Game 7 of the 1984 NBA Finals, it has been the trendiest ticket in town. Getting into Larry Bird Night at the Boston Garden in February 1993 was a difficult task. Magic Johnson, Bobby Orr, John Havlicek, and many of Bird’s old colleagues were among the celebrities in attendance.
Bill Laimbeer, Bird’s arch-enemy and renowned stirrer, was one of the few people who didn’t show up. When asked what he would have done if Laimbeer had showed up, the Boston Celtics great gave a typical Larry Bird answer.
Larry Bird Night was a nightmare.
Larry Bird, right, listens to former teammates speak at the Boston Garden on Feb. 4, 1993, during Larry Bird Night, his retirement ceremony. | Getty Images/Bill Greene/The Boston Globe
If you weren’t one of the fortunate 14,890 individuals who got a ticket for Larry Bird Night, scalpers were selling them for as much as $500 on the street, according to the Los Angeles Times. Those tickets were the most difficult to come by since the seventh game of the 1984 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, according to Steven Riley, the Celtics’ vice president of sales at the time.
It was a night of remembrances and memorials. It was also a night of standing ovations, with Georgia Bird, Larry’s mother, receiving the first. She didn’t say much, but when asked about her son by emcee Bob Costas, she simply replied, “He was a wonderful little kid.”
Tiny Archibald, Bill Walton, Dennis Johnson, K.C. Jones, Artis Gilmore, Cedric Maxwell, JoJo White, and Dave Cowens were among the big-name Celtics and former Celtics in attendance.
Bird came from the tunnel to another standing ovation as he went to the middle of the floor, his name shouted. It was a fitting homage to the guy who, with three NBA championships, helped Boston reclaim its winning heritage.
Bill Laimbeer’s absence elicited a famous reaction from Larry Bird.
Because there’s never a bad moment to see this, here’s Larry Bird hitting Bill Laimbeer in the head with a basketball.
March 11, 2021 — Super 70s Sports (@Super70sSports)
Bird was generally considered as one of the game’s most outspoken trash-talkers. He was also witty, and he wasn’t afraid to express his disdain for Detroit Pistons center Bill Laimbeer. On Bird’s big night, it all came together for one hilarious moment.
Laimbeer was regarded as the NBA’s most vehement opponent and was perhaps the league’s most despised player. Bird had called him a “dirty player.”
During Game 3 of the 1987 Eastern Conference Finals, the two went at it. With a blatant foul, Laimbeer knocked Bird down, igniting a scuffle on the floor that resulted in fists being thrown. Bird was disqualified after firing a basketball at Laimbeer after the game came to a halt.
Costas brought up Laimbeer at the start of his discussion with Bird on Larry Bird Night.
According to the LA Times, Costas remarked, “It seems like a great night, except for the fact that Bill Laimbeer couldn’t be here.” “If he were present, what would you say to him?”
“That we would definitely hang him up with (the banners),” he said, in true Bird manner.
Even outside of basketball, Bird claimed he didn’t like Laimbeer.
In 1987, Laimbeer provided the flimsiest of justifications for his harsh foul on Bird.
According to Sports Illustrated, after the game, Laimbeer stated, “Bird stepped up for the shot, and it seemed like (Dennis) Rodman was going to undercut him.” “I grasped Larry’s hand to stop myself from falling.”
Bird responded with a witty retort once again.
“He was attempting to stop his fall,” Bird said. “I was simply attempting to get the ball to the official when I tossed it.”
Even after his playing days were over, Bird acknowledged that he disliked Laimbeer. He stated in a sit-down interview with Bill Simmons.
Bird stated in a YouTube video released by The Universe Galaxy, “It’s because he was a nasty player.” “I realize that he had to do what he had to do, but when (former Piston) Ricky Mahorn struck you, you knew you were going to be hit.” He didn’t attempt to harm you in any way. Bill made an attempt to harm you.”
It’s a good thing Laimbeer was absent on Larry Bird Night. It might have ruined an otherwise beautiful evening in Boston.
When Larry Bird was approached for autographs, he used to sign another superstar’s name.
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