Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were two of the biggest stars in the NBA in the 1980s. Since many of us would dip into different eras to figure out which is the best, the 80s was undoubtedly one of the most influential of them all. It was arguably the one ear that shaped the NBA into the exciting league it was and is today.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird have been the ultimate rivals since college. Johnson, playing for Michigan State, defeated Bird’s Indiana State team in the 1979 NCAA Finals. This added fuel to the fire and the rivalry would continue in the NBA. Both players were considered the rebirth of the basketball franchise as it was on its way to its end.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were fierce competitors and teammates
As we all know, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics have been at each other’s throats since the beginning of the NBA. Both players’ rivals in their respective franchises brought back a rivalry that meant the world to the league. Both players met in the 1987 NBA Finals when the Lakers defeated the Celtics 4-2. Johnson would retire with five championships under his name and Bird won three, most recently in 1986.
The pair became teammates and eventually formed the Dream Team with another feared legend, Michael Jordan. The 1992 Olympics were the last time the world saw Magic and Bird play either together or against each other. Little did they know that their rivalry would eventually grow into a strong friendship.
Magic Johnson retires from basketball because of HIV and confides in Bird
The legendary point guard and passer would find himself in the clutches of early retirement. In 1991, Magic shocked the world by announcing that he had tested positive for HIV. Johnson would be open about his sexual relationships with multiple women at once. This didn’t stop Johnson from starring with his rival in Bird.
Ringer’s Icons Club’s Jackie McMullan spoke about how Magic received a call from Bird after the shocking announcement. “Called me. We talked, it was just, ‘How are you? Heard about it.’ You can almost hear us both in the eye by a couple of years. And I’m choking because he called me. If something happens to you and then you find out who your real friends are and people you really care about.”
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https://firstsportz.com/nba-im-choked-up-because-he-did-call-me-magic-johnson-details-high-emotions-after-larry-bird-reached-out-following-this-hiv-diagnosis/ “I choked on him calling me” Magic Johnson describes high emotion after Larry Bird reached out after that HIV diagnosis » FirstSportz