On November 15, 1965 the Boston Celtics faced off against the Philadelphia 76ers in a game that would change basketball forever. Larry Bird was just 18 years old and had only played one college game when he entered this infamous matchup.

The “red auerbach cigar” is an anecdote about Larry Bird’s first fight with the Philadelphia 76ers. It includes Red Auerbach telling Moses Malone to “hit” him.

Larry Bird's First Fight With the 76ers Included Red Auerbach Telling Moses Malone to 'Hit' Him

The Boston Celtics and Larry Bird have a long history with the Philadelphia 76ers. The rivalry between the two teams lasted until the early 1980s, with intense playoff matchups and violent altercations.

Bird and Julius Erving met in one of the most legendary clashes between the two teams, however Dr. J said the brawl was exaggerated. A related incident between Larry Legend and the 76ers, on the other hand, became so hot that former Celtics president Red Auerbach attempted to bait Hall of Fame center Moses Malone.

Even during the preseason, Larry Bird’s hatred for the Philadelphia 76ers was palpable.

The Celtics had plenty of experience playing against the Sixers, thanks to Larry Bird. In the 1981 Eastern Conference Finals, Boston recovered a 3-1 lead, but Philadelphia won the rematch the following season.

Moses Malone had a connection to the Hick from French Lick. “Moses does eat s**t,” Bird retorted after the 76ers center labeled the Celtics “chumps” before of the 1981 NBA Finals.

Those two dynamics were well shown during a 1983 preseason game between Boston and Philadelphia.

Early in the competition, Malone got into an altercation with Cedric Maxwell. Bird collided with former 76ers big man Marc Iavaroni soon after, igniting a feud. Three people were ejected from the brawl, including Bird. Fines were also imposed on Larry Legend and Iavaroni.

Red Auerbach, the former Celtics general manager, was also fined for backing his players. For the iconic figure, this meant attempting to elicit Malone’s physique.

Moses Malone was challenged by Red Auerbach, who walked onto the court.

Boston Celtics great Larry Bird (R) answers questions next to Red Auerbach

Boston Celtics great Larry Bird (R) answers questions next to Red Auerbach During a news conference in 1984, Red Auerbach (L) and Larry Bird field questions | Stan Grossfeld/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Red Auerbach was fed up with his guys being tossed about. He imagined that he would partake in some of the physicality himself.

Auerbach stepped out of his seat and went onto the floor when Bird was removed. He walked straight up to Malone and tried to entice the 76ers center into throwing a punch (h/t UPI).

“You huge jerk, hit me. Go ahead and do it. I’m not a huge guy, so strike me, you jerk.”

–Red Auerbach to Moses Malone (1983), via United Press International

Sixers players, according to Auerbach, got away with murder. Malone’s evident efforts to bully ball, as well as Philly’s brutish actions with Bird, both irritated him.

“First, they take out (Cedric) Maxwell, and then that other guy (Iavaroni) is doing a job on Bird, and all that stuff.” I couldn’t stop myself. “I simply became enraged,” Auerbach told UPI.

The Celtics general manager said that the disagreement arose as a result of Philly’s lack of respect. Bird and Auerbach, on the other hand, had left Malone and the Sixers in the dust by the conclusion of the season.

The 76ers were often defeated by Bird, Auerbach, and the Celtics.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4RQv5y5 kk

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If the preseason brawl happened because the 76ers thought too highly of themselves as reigning champs, as Auerbach said, then such a mentality could only have been temporary.

During the 1983-84 season, Bird and the Celtics earned their second championship of the decade. In the playoffs, Boston has a history of defeating Philadelphia.

The Celtics defeated the Sixers in five games in the 1985 Eastern Conference Finals, after the two clubs shared series wins in 1981 and 1982. During the series, Bird struggled offensively, but he dominated defensively, averaging 2.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game.

That basically brought the contest to a close. During the 1985-86 season, the Celtics went 4-2 versus the 76ers their way to a title. Those C’s are regarded as one of the finest teams in history.

Both teams were trying to gain an advantage in the bravado area, and Auerbach embodied that mindset in the front office. On the court, though, Bird’s Celtics prevailed.

Basketball Reference provided the statistics.

‘What’s the Point of Comparing?’ Larry Bird said when asked about his place in NBA history.

Watch This Video-

Larry Bird’s first fight with the 76ers included Red Auerbach telling Moses Malone to “hit” him. The game was on December 18, 1979 at Philadelphia Spectrum and the 76ers beat Boston Celtics by a score of 102-99. Reference: moses malone stats.

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