The Time Larry Bird Kept Calling Dominique Wilkins “Homes” – BlackSportsOnline
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The Time Larry Bird Kept Calling Dominique Wilkins “Homes”


Larry Bird is a legend in the sport of basketball, and it’s the little things that made him so special.

I’m old enough to remember Game 7 of the 1988 Eastern Conference Semifinals, when Bird and Dominique Wilkins went at each other in arguably the greatest battle in NBA history.

I don’t remember either player missing, and they went at each other so differently. Dominique Wilkins came into the league a few years after Larry Bird.

Wilkins tells an amazing story about their final matchup from the 82-83 season.

“One of the first times I ever played against him, I went out for the opening tip and I went to shake his hand. He just stood there and looked at me stone-faced with his hands behind his back,” Wilkins said recently.

“I was like, ‘Whoa.’ Then we were getting ready for the tip and he says to me, ‘You don’t belong in this league, Homes.’ I couldn’t believe it, but it happened so fast, I didn’t know what to think.

“Then they had the ball and I was on him and he said, ‘I don’t know why they got you guarding me, Homes. You can’t guard me.’ Then, whap, he hit a 3. Then he came down again and said, ‘They made a mistake putting you on me, Homes,’ and he took another 3.”

The story gets better as he explains how mad Bird had him.

“So now I’m hot,” he said. “I’m hot. I mean, I’m steaming.

“Then a little while later, I came down on a break and he was backpedaling. I just went right after him. I jumped up and he tried to challenge, but I took that right through the rim. He fell and hit the basket support.

“He got up and said, ‘I like you, rookie. You’ve got(guts).’ I was happy for a second, and then he said, ‘But I’m still going for 40 on you tonight.’ ”

He then paused the story, stepped back and smiled.

“But I got him,” Wilkins said. “He only scored 39.”

That game — a 117-95 victory for the Celtics — was a near-perfect performance from Bird, who scored those 39 points on 18 for 22 shooting from the field.