Before today’s famed rivalries—LeBron/Kobe, Miami/Orlando, Phoenix/Dallas, Detroit/Chicago—there existed one ultimate throwback duo: Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
Among the 10 best players in NBA history, Birdie and Magic revived not only the Celtics/Lakers rivalry, but also the NBA itself, which was threatened by drug scandals during the 1980s—until Bird and Magic started winning NBA Championships and earning MVP awards.
When The Game Was Ours, by Bird, Johnson and nationally recognized sports columnist Jackie MacMullan, relates how these two players, from very similar backgrounds, went from dead-eye rivals in the 1979 NCAA Championship game (Indiana State vs. Michigan State) to teammates on the 1992 Olympic Dream Team, to lifelong friends during and after their NBA careers. Readers get insight into Bird’s obsessive devotion to winning; Magic’s struggles with the HIV virus; Bird’s playing through incredible pain; Magic’s triumphant comeback in the 1992 All Star game; and what fueled their fires throughout their lives, both on and off the court.
STACK’s Take: This book is about basketball at its best. Even if you’re not a die-hard fan of Bird or Johnson, the Celtics or Lakers, it makes for a fast-paced and informative read. It’s a book that can help you understand the mindset of ultra-competitive athletes and inspire you to become a better player.