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There are plenty of legendary stories about Larry Bird's great competitiveness, and there's more that we are yet to know. Larry didn't look like that, but he was a bad man, always ready to destroy rivals with his game and words.
In 1985, the Boston Celtics legend had arguably the greatest game of his career, almost recording a quadruple-double in a blowout win over the Utah Jazz. Bird only played 33 minutes, logging 30 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and 9 steals.
He had the chance to get that 10th steal to record the second quadruple-double in the league at the time (Nate Thurmond of the Chicago Bulls recorded 22 points, 14 rebounds, 13 assists and 12 blocks in 1974), but Bird just wanted to rest and see the rest of the game on the bench.
Via The Los Angeles Times:
Larry Bird had 30 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 9 steals for the Celtics to come within one steal of recording a quadruple-double as Boston beat the Utah Jazz, 110-94, at Salt Lake City.
But, when informed of his opportunity, Bird chose not to go back into the game after being taken out in the third quarter. He totaled 33 minutes.
After the game was over, Larry Legend was asked about his curious decision. Instead of making history, he decided to call it a game and let his teammates do the rest.
"I already did enough damage. Why go for it if we're up by 30?" He said, according to Albert Lin in the Sports Illustrated archives, via Bleacher Report.
Larry was something else. He was an incredible trash-talker who backed it up with his game. He bullied the Utah Jazz more than once during his career, including when he said he would score 43 points and did exactly that in front of a rookie John Stockton.
He always demanded respect, and if you try to disrespect him, he'd make you pay. No. 33 was a menace, and the worst part was that he looked like the nicest guy ever. Well, not when he played basketball.