Fact Check: Larry Bird Did NOT Tell NBA Players To 'Shut Up And Play The Damn Game'

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Larry Bird Did NOT Tell NBA Players To 'Shut Up And Play The Damn Game' Totally False

Did Larry Bird say NBA players should "just shut up and play the damn game"? No, that's not true. The famed Boston Celtic basketball player did not give a quote calling players "radical fundamentalists who dishonor the flag and cross and only care about looking flashy." The Indiana Pacers, where Bird is an adviser, said the quote was "Totally false."

The claim appeared as a post (archived here) published on the Facebook page "Libtard Nation" on August 30, 2020. It opened:

BACK IN MY DAY THE GAME HAD FUNDAMENTALS AND HONORED THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF"

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Posted by Libtard Nation on Sunday, August 30, 2020

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Aug 31 18:16:13 2020 UTC)

The full quote under a picture of Bird read:

BACK IN MY DAY THE GAME HAD FUNDAMENTALS AND HONORED THE COMMANDER IN CHIEF. NOW ITS A BUNCH OF RADICAL FUNDAMENTALISTS WHO DISHONOR THE FLAG AND CROSS AND ONLY CARE ABOUT LOOKING FLASHY. JUST SHUT UP AND PLAY THE DAMN GAME."


This quote is completely made up.

Amid the NBA boycott in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the meme with the made-up quote from Bird went viral.

There is no evidence that Bird has spoken in public recently or that the famed NBA star made these comments.

Indianapolis reporter Carlos Diaz with WHTR reported the Indiana Pacers said the Bird quote is "Totally false." Bird serves as an adviser for the team.


Snopes.com debunked the fake quotes as well and noted Bird refused to go to the White House in 1984, when Ronald Reagan was president, after the Celtics won the NBA championship. Bird said about President Reagan, "If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me," the Boston Globe reported.

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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