Segments in this Video

Introduction: Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals (01:26)


This segment orients viewers to the topic of the rivalry between Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird.

"Magic" Johnson's Background (06:33)

Indiana State and Michigan State compete in the 1979 NCAA Championship. Johnson grew-up in Lansing, MI. He recalls playing basketball as a youth and attending Everett High School.

Larry Bird's Background (10:16)

Bird and Johnson play for Team USA in 1978. Bird grew-up poor in French Lick Indiana. Bird recalls attending Indiana State University and his father's suicide; Bill Hodges convinces Bird to return to college basketball.

NCAA Championship (03:56)

Johnson and Bird recall being on the court the day before the game and their game performances; Bird does not play well. Bryant Gumbel reflects on the rivalry.

National Basketball Association (07:39)

By the late 1970s, public interest wanes in professional basketball. Bird joins the Boston Celtics and is tagged "the great white hope": he recalls playing the game rough. Bird leads the team to the championships in his second season.

L.A. Lakers (06:31)

Johnson recalls his fascination with orange and lemon trees. His arrival changes team dynamics. He leads the Lakers to the finals in his rookie season and becomes a star. Experts compare the personas of "Magic" and Earvin.

Basketball Rivalry (07:00)

Bird takes responsibility for the animosity between him and Johnson. Johnson wins the NBA Championship and Bird wins Rookie of the Year; experts reflect on their similarities. The NBA and CBS "sell" Bird and Johnson as archival characters to improve ratings.

1984 NBA World Championships (05:07)

The L.A. Lakers compete against the Boston Celtics; fights occur in game four. Boston wins game seven, becoming champions. Johnson and Bird reflect on the title.

1985 NBA World Championships (03:00)

The 1984 championships inspire a resurgence in NBA popularity; Johnson recalls feeling depressed. The Lakers and Celtics compete the following year in an intense series; the Lakers win.

Commercial Shoot (05:58)

In 1985, Bird and Johnson film a Converse commercial in French Lick, IN. Business polarizes their rivalry, and race becomes an unavoidable part of conversations.

Basketball and Race (04:22)

Bird unwittingly becomes a receptacle of resentment. Dennis Rodman and Isiah Thomas call Bird overrated. Bird does not care and is forced to say so during a press conference.

NBA World Champions (05:31)

The Lakers and Celtics compete for the title and the Lakers win the series; Bird publicly acknowledges Johnson's talent. The Lakers win five titles and the persona of "Magic" grows; women and excess become vices.

Back Injury (03:06)

Bird hurts his back in 1985 while building a driveway but continues to play through the pain. Orthopedic surgeon Dan Dyrek describes managing Bird's condition; Bird hopes to compete against Johnson in the finals.

HIV Diagnosis (08:28)

Johnson recalls learning he is HIV positive two months after getting married. He begins revealing his diagnosis and Bird recalls his changing perspective. Johnson retires from the Lakers but remains positive about his future.

Living With HIV (06:06)

Arsenio Hall and Johnson recall negative comments after Johnson's diagnosis. He becomes an HIV educator, plays in the 1992 NBA All-Star Game, and competes in the Olympics with Bird.

Competitive Athletes (01:35)

Gumbel states that Johnson and Bird saved the NBA. Experts reflect on their rivalry and bond.

Credits: Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals (01:14)

Credits: Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals

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Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals

3-Year Streaming Price: $199.95



This film chronicles the rivalry between Earvin Johnson and Larry Bird that began with the 1979 NCAA Basketball Championship Game and lasted throughout their Hall of Fame careers in the NBA.

Length: 89 minutes

Item#: BVL206148

Copyright date: ©2010

Closed Captioned

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Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.