Sunday, January 27, 2013

Bird & Magic Rookie

Jordan vs Bird vs Magic.  The NBA in the 80s and 90s featured three of the greatest ballers to ever step on the court.  Michael Jordan almost single-handedly denied a generation of his peers an NBA Championship.  Think about players like Patrick Ewing, Reggie Miller, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Charles Barkley and Shawn Kemp.  Yeah the 'Reign-Man' would've gotten 1 in '96 if it weren't for MJ.  If Jordan wouldn't have taken 2 years off from '93 to 95, greats Olajuwon & Drexler would not have won their NBA titles for the Rockets, although the match-up of Bulls, Rockets certainly would've made for a superb series.

Bird & Magic are the two guys responsible for the NBA's exponential growth when the 80s began.  They of course played against each other in the 1979 NCAA Championship game, Magic for Michigan State and Bird for Indiana State.  Then for the next 10 consecutive years either the Celtics or Lakers would play in the NBA Finals, 3 times head-to-head with the Lakers winning two of three.  The Greatest Rivalry in NBA History, which began in the early 60s when Russell's Celtics defeated Jerry West's Lakers 6 times, was renewed a generation later when the Celtics defeated the Lakers with Bird the MVP of the 83-84 Finals.  Of the four times they went against each other in a championship setting, that would be the lone victory for Larry Bird against Earvin Magic Johnson.

The two formed a lasting friendship as their rivalry on the court became respect and admiration off it (McDonalds helped too, seriously).  Magic and Bird dominated the NBA in the 80s until the Bad Boys from Detroit took back-to-back titles in 89 & 90, also defeating future champions along the way; Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.  Jordan and the Bulls were actually defeated by Bird and
the Celtics in the 86 and 87 playoffs before Phil Jackson came along.  Phil took over in 89.  The Bulls proceeded to win 6 titles in 8 years from 91 to 98, Jordan the MVP every single Finals.  Jordan averaged about 33 points per game in that time span shooting about 49%.  Jordan never appeared friendly the way Magic and Bird did, except in his shoe commercials and interviews.

This little Gem has become one of the Jewels of my Collection.  The card itself is only a 7-grade of Near-Mint, but with the Autographs of Larry Legend & Magic, it becomes a Relic and nearly a 1-of-a-kind item.  I've seen one autographed by all three players so my bucket list and my OCD now require meeting Dr. J to complete the Trifecta Autographed Rookie Card of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

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