During the 1980s, the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird played a huge role in the popularity of the league. The two superstars shared blows the entire decade formed one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the NBA.
While the two superstars were simply amazing during their primes, every good thing ends at some point or another. For them, this happened when the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan rose to stardom and dethroned them.
Following this sudden rise, Jordan was labeled as not only the best player of his era but also the best player to grace the basketball court with his presence.
It was hard for some of the players to accept this. As a result, for some time, they disregarded Jordan. But during his playing days, MJ never lacked self-confidence and the skill to back his statements.
Popular sports broadcaster Ahmad Rashad shared a story about a heated confrontation between Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird.
"I was sitting up there with Larry Bird and we were just watching. Then finally, Michael gets very upset and says, ‘Listen, all I’m telling you — I’m telling you Larry, I’m telling you Magic — if you don’t quit, every time I see you next year I am busting your a**. When I come to your arena, I’m busting your a**. I’m warning you right now, you better quit.’”
Rashad further revealed “After time went by, Larry Bird just looks over at Magic and he says, ‘Magic, you and I were then, and Michael Jordan is now.’ And that’s how that went."
The incident happened when the 1992 Dream Team was formed and Team USA put on a show in the Olympics.
This gave MJ the perfect chance to not only prove his worth to the world but also learn about his opponents. As a result, Jordan and the Bulls' era of true domination began. That, of course, meant curtains being drawn on the era of Magic and Bird.
The world had seen the two ruled the league for years and it left an amazing impression on not only fans but NBA players. To this date, some NBA players still believe Magic and Bird are better than Michael Jordan.
How Did Michael Jordan Dominate The 1990s?
Thanks to 'The Last Dance' docuseries by ESPN, the world got to see the rise of Michael Jordan in detail. Prior to becoming a legend of the game, MJ struggled for a few years to even make a deep playoff run. After all, during that time, the East was arguably more competitive than the West.
But after his dream of winning, the NBA title was shattered multiple times, Jordan owned the 90s.
Mike led the Bulls to three consecutive titles and never looked back from that. He retired after a brief period but then went on to dominate the league again in his second stint.
When it was all said and done, Jordan finished his career with 6 NBA championships, 6 NBA Finals MVP, 5 regular season MVPs, 10 scoring titles, 14 All-Star selections, and many more accolades to become a basketball Hall of Famer.
There will be hardly any player ever who can reach the level of Mike and he will forever remain as one of the best players in the history of the NBA.