I truly enjoyed the ESPN documentary The Last Dance, chronicling the career of the GOAT Michael Jordan. But without Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, there probably is no Michael Jordan or NBA. Magic and Bird saved the NBA. Let me explain.
Some of you are probably too young to remember, but once upon a time the NBA playoffs and finals were taped. That’s right, you had to avoid the news all day if you did not want to know the scores of the games. The NBA was coming off a drug scandal. Most people were just not interested in watching the NBA. Then March 26, 1979 happened. The NBA would never be the same.
On March 26, 1979, the Michigan State Spartans took on the Indiana State Sycamores for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship. Ervin “Magic” Johnson, the kid with the big smile vs. Larry “The Hick from French Lick” Bird. Most of America watched the drama play out from Salt Lake City, Utah. That night Magic’s Spartans got the best of Bird’s Sycamores. But that would not be the last time we would see these two compete against each other. That night in Utah would change the NBA forever.
Magic Johnson would be drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers and Larry Bird would be drafted by the Boston Celtics. Magic and Bird would turn around the two most storied franchises in the NBA. Most importantly, they brought the fans back to the NBA. No longer were the playoffs and finals on tape delay. Fans could not get enough of Magic, Bird and the NBA.
No doubt Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play in the NBA, but we must never forget that the kid with the infectious smile from Lansing, Michigan and the Hick from French Lick saved the NBA. ~OC