The Truth About Magic Johnson And Larry Bird’s Relationship

The Truth About Magic Johnson And Larry Bird's Relationship

In 1979, the NCAA National Championship was between the Michigan State Spartans and the Indiana State Sycamores. Led by star Larry Bird, Indiana State came in as the undefeated favorite but a young Magic Johnson sunk 24 points for his squad on the way to victory, The New York Times reported. 

“We put the Madness in March,” Johnson explained about the epic matchup on ESPN. It was the “highest-rated final” at the time and turned Bird and Johnson into even bigger stars as they headed for the pros. Once in the NBA, “I was just dreaming about another chance that maybe I’d get to play against you,” Bird recalled to Johnson. That matchup came true in 1984 when the Lakers went up against the Celtics in the NBA finals. The series went to a decisive game seven and this time, Bird took home the championship trophy. The NBA stars would meet two more times in the finals throughout their careers, with Johnson winning with the Lakers both times, per AP (via USA Today). 

Though the on-court battles made for an exhilarating rivalry, the two were quite friendly outside the game. The connection started when both players went to Johnson’s hometown of French Lick, Indiana to shoot a commercial for the Converse sneaker brand. It was their first real interaction together and the two became friends after sharing a meal prepared by Bird’s mother, Johnson and Bird explained on the “Late Show with David Letterman.”

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