Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals on HBO

The Ad that created a lifelong friendship

Growing up Larry Bird was always the man, it occurs to me now when thinking back to 1983, 84 that my grandfather although from Pennsylvania ,  was a bigtime Celtic Fan (and a huge Yankee Fan..Perhaps my grandfather was on to something..he liked WINNERS)… Of course that seems contradictory in nature being that all true die-hard Yankee fans hate all things Boston. But Larry Bird was always the exception and I have a serious soft spot for him.

Whether he was diving for loose balls, or winning the 3 point shootout with his warm up jacket on, Larry Bird was nasty and as a white 10-year-old kid, I could identify with him. I wanted my J to look as smooth as Larry Legend (still working on that) I was always a Bird fan!. So when I heard about this new documentary on HBO about the Bird/ Magic Rivalry I had to see it.

The good peeps at HBO nailed it, the story of the un-likely friendship and bond between two of the greatest and most competitive athletes of all time is nothing short of gripping. This 90 minute doc not only gets to the heart of their story as their lives intertwined and their careers would inevitably be defined in tandem, it gets to the heart of these men as people. It’s great television and a must see for any sports fan.

I would go so far as to say that the Bird & Magic rivalry, might be the most intense and deep one on one professional athletic rivalry ever and HBO has gone along way in furthering that notion.

The footage is all classic, from their respective high schools in Michigan and Indiana, to their classic NCAA final battle in 79, to their NBA wars its pretty incredible. But the interviews with the two of them are so well done and so enlightening.

The Story of how they really first became friends (already bitter rivals on the court) when converse brought them together to shoot a commercial for the Magic & Bird Weapon line (Choose Your Weapon) The commercial was shot at Birds moms home in French Lick, Indiana and when the two actually got to talk and hang out a friendship blossomed, but the competitive fire in each was still burning bright.

The relationship between this two was certainly worthy of a HBO documentary and I can’t say enough about how it was executed. The scenes when they touch upon Magic contracting HIV and Larry Bird’s reaction  to his friends illness are moving, this is not simply a sports documentary.

Larry Bird and Magic are legends that put the NBA on a trajectory that Air Jordan would eventually take to new heights, but I agree with what Bryant Gumbel says in the documentary………..”It was Bird and Magic that saved the league”

Magic & Bird : A Courtship Of Rivals all this month on HBO….Catch it!

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