Larry Bird once complimented Dennis Johnson the most while disparaging the other members of his team.

No matter how much fame and fortune he found in Beantown, the forward never changed. He kept things simple, wore the same outfits, and occasionally came up with a quote that showed off his dry wit and willingness to rib almost anyone. Larry Bird gained notoriety during his tenure in the Association for both his incredible talent and his signature personality.

Bird was questioned about Dennis Johnson’s contribution to the Celtics’ success throughout the conversation. Although Larry Legend gave the guard the highest praise possible, calling him the best player he had ever suited up with, he couldn’t help but poke fun at the other players on the team.


Larry Bird complimented Dennis Johnson and made fun of the rest of the Boston Celtics.

Dennis Johnson played an important role in the Celtics’ 1984 championship run, even though he never got the same recognition as other of the team’s more well-known players. Nobody knew that more clearly than Larry Bird.


Dennis, though, is essential to our group. In an interview that has been preserved on YouTube, Bird said to Chick Hearn, “I knew last year that we were going to win a championship once we picked up Dennis and saw how good he is.” Although we were aware that there were many strong teams out there, we needed Dennis’ style of play. We needed someone who could play solid defense, get shots like he does, and contribute to the team overall.


Even while that was already quite flattering, Bird didn’t stop there.

As one can assume, Hearn was taken aback and asked the forward straight away if he was serious. Bird, who never missed an opportunity to deliver a bit of smack talk and display his dry humor, had a clever way of making it clear that he wasn’t.


He laughed and said, “Well, I haven’t played with too many good ones.”


Johnson was crucial to the Celtics’ victory, even though it’s clear that Bird was having a little fun—he played with some of the greatest players of all time in Boston. The Pepperdine product relocated to the northeast and developed into a more traditional point guard, as Larry Legend pointed out. Although he was able to help set the pace for a strong offensive squad, his assist total increased. Despite this, he was still able to score on his own and play solid lockdown defense. During the 1980s, the Celtics had many big moments, and he also had a propensity for stepping up in those situations.


It’s also important to remember that Bird previously made some playful remarks about Johnson outside of this interview. He made a joke during the 1987 NBA Finals, saying the guard had been purposefully missing jumpers all season to leave himself open when it mattered most.

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