The headliners were Joe B. Givens, Macy, and Robey garnered most of the minutes in the tournament even though the second team, anchored by Johnson and Bird, dominated them in practice. Privately, both players fumed as they sat and watched inferior players gobble up their minutes. They engaged in no more than four or five conversations, even though they ate together, practiced together, and rode the bus together.
While professional basketball in the s produced dismal ratings, the colleges, provided the matchups had some national appeal, were proving to be a market with potential. Einhorn had already successfully televised exhibition games against Russians and felt that a competition with some international flavor would prove to be successful.
Thus, the WIT was born. Johnson saw the game differently than the other players, almost as if he were watching the action unfold in slow motion.
When the Game was Ours
Gavitt had never seen him play and knew little about him. Since Indiana State was not being featured on network television, many basketball fans assumed Bird was African American.
Ryan was in Indianapolis to cover Providence but informed Gavitt he also was driving to Terre Haute to check out the Sycamores and this mysterious hidden gem, whom Celtics scouts assured him was a legitimate NBA prospect. He was playing at a small school in a small conference, which, they surmised, accounted for his prolific offensive numbers.
The writers barely had time to remove their jackets before the right-handed Bird snared a rebound and started up the left side of the floor dribbling left-handed. Just shy of midcourt, he fired an underhand rocket pass to his guard off the dribble for a lay-up. Indiana State went on to win by a point on a jumper by Bird. Ryan was so animated talking about his performance on the way back to Indianapolis, he was driving 75 miles per hour when the state police pulled him over.
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Magic was a whirling dervish of energy and enthusiasm. Even though he was just a freshman, he barked orders to his older teammates and after every successful play slapped hands, whooped, and celebrated with his teammates. The Friars players took offense at his histrionics, particularly in light of the lopsided score 77— He played like he loved the game. Not some days — every day. Bird was ecstatic about being chosen, until he learned the identity of the coach.
Joe B. A wounded Bird vowed to prove him wrong someday and was disappointed that he never had the opportunity to play against Kentucky in college.
When the Game Was Ours : The Larry Bird - "Magic" Johnson Dynamic
The odds of that happening were slim. Kentucky was one of the more prestigious programs in the country. Their conference, the Southeastern, was known primarily as a football hotbed, with heavyweights Alabama, Auburn, Florida, and Georgia among its members. The Wildcats, under the tutelage of Adolph Rupp, had established themselves as one of the top basketball powers in the country in the late s, winning four NCAA championships in ten years. See All Customer Reviews.
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Add to Wishlist. USD From the moment these two players took the court on opposing sides, they engaged in a fierce physical and psychological battle. Their uncommonly competitive relationship came to symbolize the most compelling rivalry in the NBA.
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These were the basketball epics of the s — Celtics vs Lakers, East vs West, physical vs finesse, Old School vs Showtime, even white vs black. When it started they were bitter rivals, but along the way they became lifelong friends. With intimate, fly-on-the-wall detail, When the Game Was Ours transports readers to this electric era of basketball and reveals for the first time the inner workings of two players dead set on besting one another.
We hear him talk with candor about playing through chronic pain and its truly exacting toll. In Magic we see a young, invincible star struggle with the sting of defeat, not just as a player but as a team leader. But always, in both cases, we see them prevail. I really enjoyed this book. If you are a basketball fan over the age of 40, you will probably enjoy this as much as I did. If you are younger, I recommend trying to watch some of those finals games between the Lakers and Celtics in the 80s first, then read the book.
This is a well-researched look at the two NBA icons who practically saved the league in the 's - Larry Bird, the self-professed "Hick from French Lick" and the effervescent play maker from Lansing, Earvin "Magic" Johnson. Author Jackie MacMullen lets Bird and Magic tell the story with very little other than their first person voice present. Truly it was a battle royale between the two best collegiate teams from that season. As he often did, Magic's team had the last laugh on Bird's squad, but Bird dominated the stat sheet.
Each man's professional life from that moment on was dedicated to besting his rival, but without ever losing the huge amount of respect that was always present. As the story continues through each rival's NBA career, the cool professional relationship develops into a friendship that continues to this day. The story chronicles that relationship well and is the most endearing part of the book. MacMullen also details the painful conclusions of each man's career - Bird with a debilitating back injury, and Magic, when diagnosed with the HIV virus.
Ever non-basketball fans interested in a good story about loyalty and friendship should find something to like in the book. Great book even for non-sports people like me. Two very interesting biographies Larry Bird and Magic Johnson interwoven to create a fascinating story. I loved the documentary, so I figured that this might be a natural extension of that.
Unfortunately, this didn't really grab me as much as I thought it would - there's a lot of issues I have with it. For one, there's no new insights - if you're already familiar with their story, you don't learn anything that you don't already know. I would say that it works well for the neophyte, but the writing style kills that.
MacMullan has a habit of telling you what happened at the end of a season at the start of a chapter the Celtics winning it all in , Magic's "junior, junior" hook in '87 and telling the story of the season afterwards. They engaged in no more than four or five conversations, even though they ate together, practiced together, and rode the bus together. While professional basketball in the s produced dismal ratings, the colleges, provided the matchups had some national appeal, were proving to be a market with potential.
Einhorn had already successfully televised exhibition games against Russians and felt that a competition with some international flavor would prove to be successful. Thus, the WIT was born. Magic scored 14 points and dished out 7 assists, but his ability to push tempo and provide his teammates with high-percentage shots Michigan State hit 61 percent of its field goals was what ca Books Best Sellers.
'When the Game Was Ours,' by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson - The New York Times
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My Account. Buy Paperback Now. Also available in:. Available Resources Download Images. See More. APRIL 9, Lexington, Kentucky The errant shot came off the glass at a sharp angle, but Larry Bird, charting the flight of the ball, pulled down the rebound and advanced without hesitation, swiveling his head as he examined his options. Want the latest Email Address. Sign Up. Thank you for your submission.