This post was originally posted at The New Democrat
This film is about the two men who saved the National Basketball Association in the 1980s. And to know that, you have to be familiar with the NBA back in the late 1970s. The fact that the NBA finals were shown on tape-delay television means the game is played at one point. The network back then was CBS and CBS Sports, which recorded the game and broadcast it. The game was played at 8 or 9 pm, but then CBS Sports aired the game at midnight after the local TV news.
Regarding Earvin Magic Johnson’s and Larry Legend Bird’s second or third season, sports fans wanted to see the NBA again and their ratings were back up and all of their games are now being shown live. The reason for this is that both players were great to see, but why were they great to see: Because of what they were about, which wasn’t themselves but their teams and winning. All they were interested in was winning, and as the great NBA basketball head coach Pat Riley said, Magic and Legend were about team first and team last and everything else in between and nothing else.
The only thing that Magic and Legend cared about was winning and the fact that they were the two best. Players, at least of their generation playing for the two best teams of this era, and playing in opposite conferences, Larry Bird playing for the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference, and Earvin Johnson playing for the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference, and for either to win the NBA finals, most likely they would have to beat the Celtics or Lakers. It meant for the two best team players of all time to win the championship. They would have to beat each other to do that.
I am not sure whether Larry Bird and Earvin Johnson would have been as great as they were had they not played in the same era and were from the same generation. Had they been clearly the best players of their era without anyone to push them for the top and had the Celtics been the best team of this era without the Lakers to push them and vice-versa I am not sure they would have been as great as they were without the other player and team pushing them. Because part of Legend’s and Magic’s greatness was the other pushing them to make them as great as they were: the competition of the rivalry.