Shawn Kemp Recalls How Larry Bird Absolutely Destroyed Him In First Ever Matchup


In his first NBA matchup against Larry Bird, Shawn Kemp, a rookie at the time, was eager to prove himself against the Celtics legend.

However, Bird was motivated by an article that suggested he was no longer as dominant as before. He came into the game with a clear message for Kemp. True to his word, Bird delivered an outstanding performance with 40 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 109-97 victory for the Celtics.

Bird, who was known for his trash-talking skills not only showcased his basketball prowess in this game, but also added a psychological edge by calling out his shots and executing them flawlessly. Bird dominated the game and even sent Kemp a letter after the match, appreciating his hard play and inviting him to work out together:


“So before the game, I was over there rubbing my hands, looking at him, like, I’m about to get your a**, man. This was my first year.

And that day, they came out with a, that morning they came out with a USA Today article and they said that Larry didn’t have it no more. So he came out that night to make a statement and I was just the prime candidate.

Before the game he told me, he was like, he just shook his head at me, he said, man, it’s gonna be a f***ed up night for you. he was actually calling out bank shots. He would say, next time, bank shot left side. I’m gonna pump fake you.

You dumba**, you don’t go for it. I said first of all ‘I will be so close to if you shoot the ball next, I will try to rip your f***ing arm off’. What you think he did man? Quick pump fake dog. You go for that s**t.

I guarded his a** so tough. Then after the game, he came, he sent a little letter over there to me. He was like, ‘I’ve had nobody play defense that hard on me. I appreciate you playing. He was like, I got a little All-Star game. Why don’t you come work out with me? Come to the All-Star game, man’. 

That’s something I was like, s**t, that meant everything to me. So it went from him whooping my a** to him teaching me a few things.”



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