Lakers legend Magic Johnson accused Larry Bird of lying to him once during their heated rivalry days. Magic would reveal the truth during the Larry Bird Night in 1993.
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird signified the term rivalry during the 80s in the NBA. Both Magic and Bird were part of two of the most iconic franchises in NBA, respectively. While Magic played point guard for the Lakers, Bird was forward for the Celtics.
Their rivalry began even before they made their NBA debuts. The two superstars would face each other during the 1979 NCAA Finals. While Magic emerged victorious over Bird, the two would carry their rivalry into the NBA.
The two Hall of Famers faced each other in 3 NBA Finals, with Magic prevailing 2-1. Both Bird and Magic combine for eight championships in thirteen Finals appearances. They together have five Finals MVP and twenty-four All-Star selections.
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However, their rivalry was only limited to the hardwood as the two icons shared a great relationship off the court. In 1993, when the Celtics would have Bird’s jersey retirement ceremony, Magic would reveal that Bird had told him a lie once, which he wanted to clarify.
Magic Johnson reveals Larry Bird’s lie.
Bird’s decorated career was cut short due to a nagging back injury, forcing him to take premature retirement. Thus in 1993, the Celtics organization would honor the superstar by having a star-studded ceremony, hanging his jersey in the Celtics arena.
Magic, who shared an intense rivalry with Bird, was in attendance as well. The event would conduct a session with the two icons talking about their journeys in the league.
In the course of the interaction, Magic would accuse Bird of telling him a lie.
“You only told me one lie in your career,” Magic said. “You only told one lie to the fans all the people in the world one time. Do you know what that lie was? You don’t remember, do you?
“Larry Bird said there would be another Larry Bird one day, and Larry there will never ever ever ever be another Larry Bird. I don’t care how many players, there will never ever be another Larry Bird. You can take that to the bank.”
Though the two legends shared an intense rivalry on the hardwood, they always had mutual respect.