"The Hick From French Lick" was as savage as they come, and it might have been all the more insulting coming from the gangly 6-foot-9 guy with the curly hair in short shorts.
Larry Bird's trash-talking exploits are legendary, including guaranteeing wins in the NBA three-point contest, telling opponents exactly what he was about to do and then executing, and relentlessly ripping on Dennis Rodman as he dropped bucket after bucket on him.
Nobody could equal Bird's verbal warfare.
What makes Bird's trash-talking exploits so legendary is that he backed up everything he said. Dominique Wilkins shared an anecdote about Bird from the 1982-83 season, Wilkins' rookie campaign.
From the Boston Herald in 2015:
"One of the first times I ever played against him, I went out for the opening tip and I went to shake his hand. He just stood there and looked at me stone-faced with his hands behind his back," Wilkins said recently.
"I was like, 'Whoa.' Then we were getting ready for the tip and he says to me, 'You don't belong in this league, Homes.' I couldn't believe it, but it happened so fast, I didn't know what to think.
"Then they had the ball and I was on him and he said, 'I don't know why they got you guarding me, Homes. You can't guard me.' Then, whap, he hit a 3. Then he came down again and said, 'They made a mistake putting you on me, Homes,' and he took another 3."
Getting into the story, Wilkins began to act things out with his facial expressions.
"So now I'm hot," he said. "I'm hot. I mean, I'm steaming.
"Then a little while later, I came down on a break and he was backpedaling. I just went right after him. I jumped up and he tried to challenge, but I took that right through the rim. He fell and hit the basket support.
"He got up and said, 'I like you, rookie. You've got (guts).' I was happy for a second, and then he said, 'But I'm still going for 40 on you tonight.' "
He then paused the story, stepped back and smiled.
"But I got him," Wilkins said. "He only scored 39."
There's many more incredible Bird trash-talk stories where that came from.