BOSTON -- When Larry Bird used a four-letter word in reference to Houston Rockets' center Moses Malone, the tens of thousands of fans gathered in City Hall Plaza for Boston Celtics Day went wild.
Less enthusiastic Monday were TV and radio stations on the air live with speeches made by the Celtics, who defeated the Houston Rockets in six games for the NBA championship.
Bird, referring to a rather large sign waved by someone in the crowd, said, 'I think after all the hollering and screaming, I look out in the crowd and see one thing that typifies our season. Moses does eat (an expletive for excrement).'
He and the other Celtics were peeved at Malone, who had constantly baited Boston by saying they weren't as good as the Philadelphia 76ers.
'I could take four guys off the streets of Petersburg (Malone's Virginia hometown) and beat them,' Malone had said.
Malone also referred to the Celtics as 'chumps.'
Bird, after the rally, apologized for his remark.
'There were signs in the crowd saying the same thing,' he said, 'and I guess I was just so naturally happy with everything that I wanted to agree with the fans. I got caught up in the atmosphere. I had no desire to offend anyone.'
Malone, when contacted by telephone, said, 'I have no feelings at all about it. It doesn't matter to me what he says.
'Larry Bird is certainly entitled to his feelings. He didn't seem to have those feelings when we were playing, but that's all right.'
Celtics coach Bill Fitch said, 'I don't think it's any big thing. We listened to it (Malone's comments) for a week and a half, so if that's the way Larry wanted to respond, that's fine with me.'
Bird did not limit his remarks to Malone. He also angered many City Hall employees.
'OK. OK. It gets better -- keep quiet,' Bird told the crowd. 'I've been in Boston a couple of years now and the last couple weeks in the paper, I've been reading about Boston going bankrupt. Well, I just spent two minutes up in Mayor (Kevin) White's office and all them people up there do is run around asking for autographs. Now I know why Boston's going bankrupt.'