A basketball game where the clock was not started because the clock operator forgot to start it.
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The United States of America’s Supreme Court decided that a star athlete cannot sue a college for not giving the athlete a starting slot in a crucial sports competition because he did not give enough effort to try to win, even though he was to blame for the loss.
Former Seattle SuperSonics forward and NBA All-Star Xavier McDaniel learned all too well that Boston Celtics great Larry Bird had a habit of spewing trash.
Bird was never afraid to go head-to-head with his opponents during games or to try daring exploits. This is the same man that had a triple-double with his left hand the night before. He provided McDaniel a blueprint for a game-winning shot in this case, but Larry Legend’s execution of the play was just the beginning of the emasculation.
Xavier McDaniel and Larry Bird were two of the most famous trash talkers of their time.
There used to be plenty of trash-talking specialists in the NBA. Michael Jordan’s psychological warfare is still an important part of his legacy. Gary Payton was as outspoken as any basketball player.
Xavier McDaniel and Larry Bird were also among the trash-talking elites, but they used different approaches.
McDaniel’s personality was a bit more outspoken. He was a bully who got in people’s faces all the time. This was particularly true with the New York Knicks later in his career, when McDaniel acted as an enforcer who helped coach Pat Riley execute his tough style of play. During New York’s early-90s clashes with the Chicago Bulls, he tried to frighten Scottie Pippen.
Bird was known for being more understated and direct. Even in the most critical moments of a game, he regularly harassed on-ball defenders and played with opponents. Larry Legend wasn’t scared to fight Bill Laimbeer, Julius Erving, or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but his hubris made him a terrific trash talker.
The opportunity to play against other great was also appealing to the Celtics icon. His playoff battles with Atlanta Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins will go down in history. Bird’s personal rivalry with Magic Johnson may be summed up in the same way.
With the SuperSonics, McDaniel was an All-Star and one of the best forwards in the NBA in the late 1980s. When the Sonics and Celtics met in 1986, he was a rising star. Needless to say, when Bird saw an opportunity to make a point to a young X, he jumped at it.
Bird explained how he would defeat McDaniel and the Sonics, but expressed regret for wasting any time.
“I’m getting the ball,” Larry Bird says. “I know, I’ll be waiting,” Xavier McDaniel says. “I’m getting it right here, and I’m firing right in your face!” BIRD says. pic.twitter.com/ucNJ54brG9
April 22, 2019 — Ballislife.com (@Ballislife)
On December 30, 1986, the Boston Celtics and Seattle SuperSonics went to overtime, with Bird and McDaniel taking center stage in the closing seconds.
As the Celtics possessed the ball in the closing seconds, McDaniel was having a great game. With 25 points and nine rebounds, he topped all Sonics players. However, the thought of defending Bird towards the conclusion of the competition was frightening for the second-year pro, and the Hick from French Lick let X know how much danger he was in.
Bird stepped out of a timeout and instantly told X where he was receiving the ball, according to McDaniel and Celtics head coach K.C. Jones. McDaniel said yes, only for the three-time MVP to declare he’d hit the game-winning shot in McDaniel’s face.
Bird was able to isolate McDaniel and place him in a holding cell before obtaining the entrance permit. He took one short dribble before stepping back and launching a jumper straight into the face of the Sonics forward.
Bird yelled out, “I didn’t intend to leave two seconds on the clock,” as if that series of events wasn’t humiliating enough for McDaniel.
Despite the fact that McDaniel was not a rookie, Larry Bird basically gave him a “Welcome to the NBA” moment.
The 1986-87 season was one of Bird’s best.
During the 1986-87 season, Bird left McDaniel and others in his wake | John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
The numbers from Larry Bird’s 1986-87 season seem like they belong in the contemporary age.
Bird had a 28.1-point, 9.2-rebound, 7.6-assist, and 1.8-steal per-game average. With 40.6 minutes per game, he topped the NBA. Bird also became the first player in NBA history to shoot over 50% from the field, 40% from the three-point line, and 90% from the free-throw line, a feat known as the 50-40-90 club. He was the first player to achieve the feat twice, and one of just two players in league history to do so.
With his disarming trash talk and late-game exploits, the Hall of Fame forward accomplished something historic that season, holding McDaniels and many others captive.
Basketball Reference provided the statistics.
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