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Basketball fans worldwide witnessed Larry Bird and Magic Johnson's rivalry and friendship. While most of us know how the rivalry started, not everyone knows how the NBA Hall of Famers' beautiful and lasting friendship was formed.
According to Magic, it all began while filming their Converse commercial in Bird's hometown in French Lick, Indiana. Johnson said Bird's mom invited him over for lunch, which he gladly accepted. Hence, everything changed between him and Larry Legend from that point forward.
"Converse wanted to do a commercial with both of us... Okay, I flew out to French Lick, Indiana right, so we shot about half the commercial, a little bit more, and it's lunchtime so I'm thinking, I'm going to my trailer... As I'm taking about three steps toward the trailer, he said, 'Magic, I'd like you to have lunch with me up at the house. My mom has prepared lunch," Johnson recalled on Club Shay Shay a few months ago.
"So I go to the house, and she's bringing out all the dishes, and she brought that last one and set it down," he continued. "She hit him [Bird] and said, 'Did you tell him yet?' Larry said, 'No, Mom, you tell him.' She turned and said, 'Magic, you're my favorite basketball player.' [Laughs] And I just said, 'Thank you, Mama Bird!'"
Magic and Bird were so much alike
In that quick lunch at Mama Bird's, Johnson realized that he and Larry may have been ultimate rivals playing for two rivaling teams, but deep down, they had a lot of things in common.
"And then we started talking and you know [what], we're similar," Johnson added. "We're both from the Midwest, we love the game, we love to win, you know that's when our friendship evolved, and we've been friends ever since."
Larry felt the same way
Unsurprisingly, Bird shared the same sentiment. He spent the better part of his illustrious career dueling with Magic, but after all, was said and done, they were similar.
"We both liked to pass the ball," Bird once reflected. "We liked to try to make other guys better. And then we were winners, there was no question about that. Not that there wasn't a lot of winners before us. But just how we played the game and approached the game, I think, made a big impact throughout the league as far as watching the game."
basketballnetwork - JOHN JEFFERSON TAN