Former NBA legend Charles Barkley explains why he called Larry Bird and Magic Johnson two of the most important figures in the NBA.
Long before the NBA was being entertained by the likes of Michael Jordan, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were running the show back in the 1980s. The two rivals had the biggest role in revolutionizing the league, and how it was perceived on a global level.
After years of displaying their talents at the highest level, both these legends built up two amazing resumes, while leaving a permanent mark on the game. Magic, after the conclusion of his 13-year career, had 12 All-Star selections, 10 All-NBA teams, 2-time steal champion, 4-time assists champ, 3 MVPs, 5 Championships, 3 Finals MVPs and got enshrined in the Hall-Of-Fame back in 2002.
Whereas Bird was selected to 12 All-Star teams, 10 All-NBA teams, 3 All-Defensive, 3 MVPs, 3 Championships, and 2 Finals MVPs, and enshrined into the Hall-Of-Fame in 1998.
“Larry Bird and Magic Johnson saved the NBA”: Charles Barkley on their importance in the NBA
Many players have left their mark on the league. However, according to 1993 MVP Charles Barkley, no players have impacted the way Larry Legend and Magic have done. Recently, on a podcast appearance, Sir Charles credited the two legends for “saving the NBA”. Barkley said:
“Think about the NBA, we’re doing the 75th anniversary now. The two most important figures are Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. They saved the NBA. So those two guys to me are the most important people. And I love both of those guys for what they did for me and my family.”
The league today is on a more global scale than ever before. However, it was due to Bird and Johnson that the NBA was first noticed worldwide. And not just Chuck, but there could possibly be several other basketball figures who believe that Johnson and Bird saved the league.