They entered the NBA in the same year and then changed the way basketball is played and how the league is viewed.
Fueled by talent, joy and competitive drive, they won championship and MVPs and brought new-found excitement to the league.
For all their accomplishments and significance, Basketball Hall of Famers and NBA icons Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are this year’s recipients of the NBA’s Lifetime Achievement Award. They will be honored June 24 at the NBA awards show in Santa Monica, California.
Bill Russell (2017) and Oscar Robertson (2018) are the previous winners.
First rivals in college (Johnson at Michigan State, Bird at Indiana State) and then the NBA (Johnson with the Los Angeles Lakers and Bird with the Boston Celtics), Johnson and Bird came into the league in 1979-80, and while Bird won Rookie of the Year, Johnson helped the Lakers to the NBA title.
Bird won a title the next season, and Magic’s Lakers finally met Bird’s Celtics in the Finals in 1984 with the Celtics winning. The Lakers beat Boston for…