Larry Bird vs Magic Johnson Rivalry

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Today we will talk about the Bird vs Magic rivalry of the 1980’s. Both were great players, but which player has the advantage. 

Even today people still talk about Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. Both players were something special and were a one in a million player. Both also fitted the two types of fans of the NBA (at least at the time).

One half liked teams that were blue collar and played more of an old school basketball (the Celtics). The other half loved watching the fast breaks and high octane offense of the Showtime Lakers. 

Today we will break down the star player for both teams and decide which one is better. Both were great and this is just my opinion. Let’s start the debate of the two greatest players of the 1980’s. 

Magic Johnson

Magic Johnson was the best passer in the league, and might be the best passer in league history. He won six total championships, also counting the one in college (against Larry Bird’s Indiana). Magic was truly Magic, and we would just need to watch one highlight video to see that. 

He was the leader of the Showtime Lakers and was a major part in every championship that they won. That’s the reason why he won 3 MVPs and 3 Finals MVP. Besides his greatness on the court, he also had millions of fans.

Everybody loved watching Magic find new ways to blow their minds by passing and stealing the ball (2 time league steal leader). Beside winning five rings at the NBA level he led his team to three that the Lakers fell short.

He’s been to 8 finals, which is more than Micheal Jordan. Also, the teams he lost to, were historic. For example the 84 Celtics, the bad boy pistons and a Micheal Jordan lead team (the first of Jordan six championships).

Larry Bird 

Larry Bird might not have been as great as a passer, but he was the better scorer. Also, before guys like Reggie Miller, Ray Allen, or Stephen Curry there was Bird. For about a decade Bird was the best 3 point shooter in the League.

He won three championships, but he led his team to five (both losses were to Magic and the Lakers). Bird, just like Magic, was part of some of the greatest teams like the 86 Celtics team, which is a historic team. He was the leader of the Celtics and nobody on the team was even close.

He, like Magic, had a lot of fans and inspired players that would be future NBA greats. Also, he might just be the best trash talker in NBA history. Just watch clips of players like Jordan talking about Bird.

We discussed both players were great and that’s a no brainer. However, who was the better player?

The Decision

This is hard for multiple reasons, one is that they both were similar in how great they are. You might look at the head to head matchups and crown Magic, but Magic had the better team. In my opinion Magic Johnsen was the better basketball player.

It’s like Tom Brady vs Peyton Manning, two great talents, but one just played better head to head. Magic had the better team with Kareem, but there is a reason why they still won a lot of games without Magic. 

Bird is not close behind the greatness of Magic Johnson, but through head to head matchups, I would choose Magic. Head to heads don’t tell the whole story, but when you have players as equal as Bird and Magic, you need a tie-breaker. 

Both are guys that changed the NBA and how basketball is played. Also, both players are my number one and two favorite players of all time. They both made a great era of basketball even greater. 

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