If it weren't for Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, we might not even have the NBA today. Yes, such were the conditions of the league during the 1970s. Due to the rise of other sports across the country, fans drifted apart from basketball.
In fact, former NBA player Byron Scott revealed that only four teams were making money before the arrival of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to the league. Of course, it means that the rest of the teams in the NBA owe it to the two players for uplifting the league's popularity.
The rivalry between Magic and Bird is still considered one of the best in NBA history. While Magic played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Bird donned the jersey of the Boston Celtics. So their rivalry was meant to be, and fans enjoyed it a lot.
However, the rivalry between the two players started before they entered the league. The two players faced off for the NCAA Championship in 1979, where Magic led Michigan State to a 75-64 win over Bird's team.
Magic Johnson And Larry Bird Once Played Together For A College Team
When we talk about Magic and Bird playing together for a team, most usually remember their time with the 1992 Dream Team. But 14 years prior to 1992, the two once shared the court for Team USA for an invitational tournament in 1978.
Although they were not huge stars at the time, as per Magic, fans loved seeing them play together for Team USA.
"I'm not going to let this guy upstage me. It was an incredible three seconds of basketball. It was boom, boom, boom! I'm thinking, 'Man, I love playing with this guy!' And believe me, the crowd loved it too."
Despite playing on the same team, both players were still competitive as it was evident from Magic's comments about not letting Bird upstage him.
Well, in the future, Johnson went on to win the NBA Championship in his rookie year, which made Bird jealous of him. So Magic certainly didn't let the Boston Celtics legend upstage him.