The special traces the history of the competition between Los Angeles Lakers immortal "Magic" Johnson and Boston Celtics great Larry Bird, which began 30 years ago when they led their midwest universities to the 1979 NCAA Championship game, through a decade of dominance, when the two won three NBA MVP awards apiece and a combined eight NBA titles. Debuting on the eve of March Madness, the exclusive HBO presentation also examines the different cultures that helped shape them and contributed to their unique styles, as well as exploring their unlikely friendship.
"Larry Bird and 'Magic' Johnson are basketball royalty," says Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports. "Their accomplishments speak for themselves at every level, but their intersecting back stories are just as rich and compelling as their championship performances. We will tell their full life stories and provide an in-depth portrait of their complicated and historic bond."
Though sharing Midwestern roots and following the same team-oriented philosophy, the introverted Bird (from the small town of French Lick, Ind.) and the extroverted Johnson (from the industrial state capital of Lansing, Mich.) couldn't be more different in personality. The two superstars talk about each other at length in the film and provide intimate insights into their remarkable lives.
The special's high-profile list of interviewees also includes: Hall of Famer Pat Riley, who coached Johnson on the great Lakers teams of the 1980s; teammates Kevin McHale, Cedric Maxwell and Michael Cooper; George Fox, Johnson's high school coach; siblings Evelyn Johnson and Mark Bird; entertainer Arsenio Hall; former CBS Sports executive Ted Shaker; and sports journalists Bryant Gumbel, Jackie MacMullan, Charles Pierce and Steve Springer.
Photo Credit: basketballphoto.com