During one game between the Lakers and Celtics, Bird was alone in the corner and Scott was rotating toward him on defense. After the shot went up, as Scott went soaring by him, Bird said, “Byron, you’re a little too late.”
“And when I came down, I turned around and looked and there it was going through the basket,” Scott says. “He was a very respectful s — talker, but he did it just as well as anybody I’ve ever been around.”
The stories from years past are endless. Luke Walton’s father, Bill, was an announcer in the arena the night of the Palace brawl. He was also one of the league’s best centers 30 years ago. Luke was named after Maurice Lucas, a teammate of Bill’s in Portland for two seasons and one of the toughest enforcers in the ABA and NBA during his 14-year career.
“They said anyone who ever messed with them, you can count on Maurice knocking him down on the next play,” Luke Walton says.
He was watching a game on NBA Classic last summer from his father’s era when Robert Parish and Bill Laimbeer exchanged punches at the free-throw line. Neither player was ejected, and the game continued like nothing happened.
“I think in his day they just fought,” Walton says. “And they didn’t even get kicked out.”
Not all of the stars from past generations did a lot of talking.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson wasn’t much of a trash talker, Scott said, until he was angry. Scott recalled a game against the Houston Rockets when Vernon Maxwell said he didn’t need any help defending Johnson in the post. For three quarters, Johnson quietly went about his business setting up teammates and playing a typical game.