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Larry Bird Shared A Hilarious Story About Beating Magic Johnson And The Lakers In LA: "I Could See The Pain On His Face... I'm Just Watching Him. I Said 'Suffer Baby, Suffer'."

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The rivalry shared between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson might be the greatest in NBA history. Two mercurial players who played in the same era redefined their sport and battled hard against each other for the biggest prize in the game. Bird and Magic became the cornerstones of the NBA, and their rivalry was one of the biggest draws for the NBA in the 1980s.

During his Hall of Fame induction, Larry Bird shared a story of beating Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers at the old LA Forum. Bird spoke about how he and the Celtics won, and he quietly sat in the team bus and watched Magic go to his car. Bird heavily enjoyed seeing Magic look defeated, and relished the pain on his face.

He took pleasure in the fact that he knew how Magic would react to the loss. After getting in his car, Bird knew that Magic would not go out to eat, and would go home, close the blinds, turn off the lights and sit in the dark for hours. He knew this because he had been there before too (2:36 mark).

“One game we played the Lakers at the Forum. And we were fortunate enough to win at the end. We were coming out the tunnel… to the bus. There was a lot of fans around him. When we won games on the road, we tend to stay a little bit longer and celebrate, especially at the Forum. We got to the top of the tunnel, we had to wait because the traffic was out there and the fans were throwing stuff at us. I was very quiet and very humble that day. And I was looking out the window, and I happened to see Earvin walk across the parking lot to his car. Of course he had a number of people around him, and I just watched him. I could see the pain on his face. The look in his eyes that he was a beaten man that day. So my thoughts in my head, my other teammates were talking, doing their own thing and I was just watching him. I said ‘suffer baby, suffer’. I looked and I see him get in his nice car, knowing that he was not going to go out to eat that night, that he is probably going to go home, shut off all the lights, pull down the blinds and sit in that dark room for hours. I know, I’ve been there.”

Bird and Magic went head to head in 3 NBA Finals, of which Bird won the first Finals encounter in 1984, but with Magic getting the better of him in 1985 and 1987. 

But every game between the two felt like a playoff game, as the two stars helped shape the Lakers and Celtics rivalry into one of the most prestigious in the history of the NBA. In fact, both Larry and Magic played in every NBA Finals of the 80s, showing just how dominant the duo was during their time playing against each other in the NBA.

As their careers were so intertwined, the two ended up becoming great friends later on. Johnson has spoken many times in the past and said that Larry Bird is the best player he ever faced. The two have great respect for each other. But the respect for them in the NBA community knows no bounds. Charles Barkley has said in the past that Larry and Magic are the two most important players in NBA history.