Former Celtic Ed Pinckney has epic story about Larry Bird's competitiveness

Dave Green
·3 min read

Former teammate has epic story about Larry Bird's competitive streak originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Before Kevin Garnett, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant used the lethal combination of great play and savage trash talk, there was Larry Bird.

The stories of Bird's competitive nature are legendary, with the most famous stemming from the 1988 3-Point Content at All-Star Weekend, where the two-time defending champ asked his challengers, "Who's coming in second?"

But Larry Legend's competitive streak wasn't limited to his opponents, as his former teammate Ed Pinckney relayed this week on the Blueblood on the Mainline podcast.

Celtics Talk Podcast: A Tribute to Tommy Heinsohn | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

The forward, who played for the Celtics from 1989 to 1994, discussed what it was like going up against Bird and fellow Hall of Famers Kevin McHale and Robert Parish in practice on a daily basis -- and how Bird didn't exactly take it easy on his teammate.

"You know as a competitor, when you're matched up against someone who's touted as the best, you have pride as an individual player. You're not just gonna go into practice and lay down," Pinckney told host Jason Fraser. "And this dude used to come into practice every day and go, 'Pinck, sorry. I gotta kick your ass today.'

"And I would be like, 'Nah, that's not gonna happen,' " Pinckney continued. "He'd be like, 'Yeah, nah, yes, it is. Don't take it personal, but I'm really gonna kick your ass.' And that's how practice would start off. And I would be like, 'Alright, let's go. Let's go at it.' "

Absolutely epic.

Of course, Bird also saved plenty of savage trash talk for his opponents. Pinckney relayed another story about Bird, where near the end of a close game, he told an opposing coach that he was going to hit a 3-pointer from the corner to win the game... and then proceeded to do exactly that. 

"That was one of my first years on the team, and I'm saying to myself, 'The dude just told the opposing team where he was going to shoot the ball from!' " Pinckney said. "And everybody was like, 'Yeah, Ed, he does that all the time. That's just what he does.' And it was incredible to watch him play and to witness his greatness. It was unbelievable."

Forsberg: Why Celtics should take a hard pass on Russell Westbrook

Bird's mouth didn't have an off switch, according to Pinckney, who added that he didn't even want to take his sons trick-or-treating near Bird's house on Halloween because he didn't want to hear Bird's trash talk. 

Larry Bird: Hall of Fame basketball player and Hall of Fame trash talker.