In a game in the late 80s, Larry Bird was really struggling. He went to his coach and he asked for one more time on the court, but still failed to make anything happen. Their loss-leading team wasn’t going anywhere soon and Coach knew it would be best if they just let him go home for good. But instead of following through with that plan, Bird stunned everyone by playing an amazing last second layup which sent their team into overtime!
Larry Bird is a retired basketball player who has been in the NBA for over 20 years. He is also one of the best players to ever play the game. In 1991, when he was playing for the Indiana Pacers, Larry Bird defied doctors orders and played a game with Magic Johnson. The two were rivals at that point in time, but they put their rivalry aside for this moment.
Larry Bird was well aware that his NBA career was coming to an end. He couldn’t do Larry Bird things due to health issues, mainly that persistent back trouble. In 1992, his back problem was so severe that his doctor recommended him not to fly great distances for games. In February 1992, the former Boston Celtics player disobeyed his doctor’s instructions in order to have a touching moment with rival Magic Johnson.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were furious opponents, yet they had a mutual respect for one another.
Onstage at the 2019 NBA Awards presented by Kia on TNT at Barker Hangar on June 24, 2019, in Santa Monica, California, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson collect the Lifetime Achievement Awards. | Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Turner Sports
Bird and Johnson began their NBA careers together in the 1979-80 season, after an incredible NCAA run that culminated in them facing off in the 1979 NCAA championship game. They had no idea the influence they would have on the NBA’s future.
The two brought their personal enmity into the league, revitalizing the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. In the 1980s, they helped their respective teams win again, with the Lakers and Celtics both making appearances in the NBA Finals each year. They squared off three times against each other. The Celtics won the championship in 1984, but the Lakers defeated them in 1985 and 1987.
Their professional paths were similar. Both players lasted 13 seasons and won three MVP awards, with Bird winning three in a row from 1984 to 1986. In 12 seasons, they were both All-Stars.
The Lakers’ regular season comprised of two significant games, according to Johnson.
“Every year when the new schedule came out, I’d take it and circle the Boston games,” Magic told Sports Illustrated in 1992. It was The Two and the other 80 for me.”
Larry Bird ignored doctor’s instructions to spend some quality time with Magic Johnson.
The NBA had a difficult season in 1991-92. Bird and Magic both announced their retirements, with Johnson’s declaration coming after he tested positive for HIV early in the season. After the season, Bird made it obvious that he would not be returning because of his back problems.
The Lakers retired Johnson’s number at halftime of their game against the Celtics on Feb. 16, 1992. Bird was out of action due to a back ailment, and he was advised not to go to the West Coast due to his back issues. Despite the instructions, the Celtics veteran flew out with the squad and took part in the event.
When Bird was presented, he received a standing ovation.
“I’m not the one who’s going to retire here… According to United Press International, he replied, “Perhaps next year?”
Bird gave Johnson a chunk of the Boston Garden floor and told the fans that the two would continue to play together.
“Magic, you never wore the green and white,” Bird said, “but you’ll always be a member of our family.” “However, he’s not finished yet. We’re flying to Barcelona to bring the gold back.”
Bird and Magic did form the Dream Team, which went on to win the gold medal in the 1992 Olympic Games.
Bird’s presence on the trip was appreciated by Johnson.
Giving up the game he loved was tough for Johnson, as it is for many sportsmen facing retirement. He tried to find the appropriate words. When he regained his composure, he expressed gratitude to several of his old comrades.
“It’s a challenge.” According to UPI, he stated, “You never know how to really say goodbye.” “It’s difficult since I’m a person who values friendship and enjoys giving and receiving.” I’ve been shown a lot of affection, and I believe I’ve returned the favor.
“First and foremost, I’d want to express my gratitude to all of the former players who are here. Every one of you has left an indelible impression on me. Kareem was my older brother, and he taught me a lot about life and being a pro basketball player, not just basketball.”
He then expressed his gratitude to Bird. He praised him for bringing out the best in him and for making the effort to be there that evening.
“I want to thank Larry Bird for making a special trip,” said Johnson, who came out of retirement for the 1995-96 season and played 32 games. “It’s too bad we couldn’t keep on. So many of these conflicts were enjoyable for me. When you played against Larry Bird, you had the opportunity to perform at the best level. Larry, thank you for bringing forth the best in Magic Johnson.
“I attempted to speak to Larry and tell him, ‘Let’s gear up and rush out and play the final five minutes,’” says the author.
They were harsh enemies, yet they stood by one other to the very end.
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