Larry Bird Got the Middle Finger From Players at All-Star Game, Says Former Celtics Reporter

Larry Bird

Getty Former Boston Celtics reporter Bob Ryan said the NBA All-Star Game of today disrespects many, including Larry Bird.

When former Boston Celtics reporter Bob Ryan watched the 2024 NBA All-Star Game, he knew things hadn’t changed after just two possessions. He hoped to see a little bit of competitiveness when the East stars squared off against the West stars.

Instead, it was the same old joke of a game that produced 397 points and just three fouls as the East came away with a 211-186 victory on Sunday, February 18. When it was over, Ryan didn’t hold back in venting, saying that the NBA players gave Celtics legend Larry Bird and several others the middle finger by playing the way they did.

Bob Ryan Said Larry Bird, Adam Silver, and Everyone Else Were Disrespected by the All-Star Game

All-Star games in any sport have become a joke, but there isn’t anything worse than the NBA version. It’s 10 players on the court with no defensive mindset. It’s an embarrassing event with zero competitive juice.

Ryan wasted no time in ripping the event and said it was a slap in the face to competitive players like Bird.

“The NBA is guilty of fraudulent advertising, of consumer fraud,” Ryan said on the “Bob Ryan & Jeff Goodman Podcast.” “They have pitched this as a basketball game. It’s not a basketball game.

“I left after the first quarter. I knew after two possessions nothing had changed. We knew that. Nothing changed. Now I pick up the paper this morning, The Boston Globe, and Gary Washburn is reporting to us all the things that were being said and done during the day, hoping that these players would cooperate and play a real game of basketball.

“Basically, what they did was give the middle finger to everybody. Give the middle finger to (Adam) Silver, to Larry Bird, and just said, ‘No, we’re going to do it our way.'”

Ryan Says He Misses the Old Style of All-Star Games

NBA All-Star Games have never been ultra-competitive, but Ryan knows they’ve been much more competitive than what we witnessed over the weekend. He said those under the age of 40 probably aren’t complaining like he is.

He just says the game doesn’t have to be like this.

“If my viewpoint is the minority viewpoint, all right, so be it,” Ryan said. “But people, I’m just telling them, All-Star games don’t have to be that way. They could be very competitive. I’ve covered them, I’ve seen them, and I miss them.

“That could be a very compelling event. Now, it’s not basketball. It’s just a joke.”

Ryan’s co-host, Gary Tanguay, said he couldn’t imagine Bird or Magic Johnson playing this way.

“I cannot imagine if Larry Bird and Magic Johnson suited up today, they could not play the game they way they play it today,” Tanguay said. “If you put Larry and Magic out there at any time in their lives, they could only go at it at 100 percent.”

Ryan agreed and threw in Michael Jordan and Bill Russell.

“They wouldn’t even understand the concept of not going out and playing hard in a game that’s supposed to represent the pinnacle of achievement in their sport,” Ryan said.

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