Larry Bird once had some legendary trash talk for Shawn Kemp
Larry Bird is known for being one of the greatest trash talkers in NBA history, and former Seattle SuperSonics star Shawn Kemp is one of dozens of former players who can vividly recall being physically and verbally abused by the Hall of Famer.
During a recent appearance on the Knuckleheads Podcast with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles, Kemp recalled the time Bird dropped 50-plus points on him. Both players are from Indiana and played high school ball there, and Bird wanted Kemp to know he didn’t appreciate him breaking some of Larry’s high school records. Kemp says Bird told him up front that it was going to be a long night.
“I’m from Indiana and Larry’s from Indiana. I knew about the history of Larry but I didn’t realize how he really got down…. Larry gave me 50 in three quarters,” Kemp said. “And he talked to me the whole entire game. He asked me at the jump ball, ‘You’re the one that broke all my records in high school right?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’ And he said, ‘And you’re the one that used to dunk on my brother too right, Andy?’ and I said, “Yeah, that’s me.’ And he said, ‘I’ve got something for you tonight.'”
Kemp’s rookie season was in 1989-1990. According to Basketball-Reference, Bird went for 40 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a 109-97 win over Seattle. While he might not have gotten to 50 against Kemp, putting up a 40-point triple-double is still pretty impressive.
That sounds pretty mild compared to some of the smack talk Bird threw around during his career (and even after), but the personal touch was great. Legends like Larry thrive in situations where they feel like they have something to prove, and he clearly felt he needed to show Kemp who the real king of Indiana was.
Kemp was a six-time All-Star and had some great seasons during his prime. There aren’t many people who dropped 50-plus points on him, but we’re not surprised to hear Bird took him for a ride.