10 comments on “Magic & Bird; Rivals & Friends-But Who Was Better?

  1. Having spent my formative NBA fan years loving the Showtime Lakers, I guess I am partial. That being said, I remember despising Larry Bird. Which in fan-speak, is the highest form of flattery. I take Magic by a hook shot in the final seconds. But I would NEVER let Bird throw an inbounds pass under the basket with time left on the clock.
    I miss them both.


    • Larry Bird to me was like Reggie Miller. Hated them both because they were solo good and killed my Knicks.
      But I would rather have them back then Dwight, LeBron, and a few others…
      Thanks Cayman!


      • I liked Magic when he was in college and closely followed his career. IF I had to pick between the two I’d go with Magic Johnson. He was the Finals MVP and he beat Bird in college in the National title game and twice more in the NBA Finals. That’s not to say that Bird wasn’t one of the greatest players of all time but Magic was better.


  2. It seems destiny placed them on similiar paths, and they played basketball on a level so high that it’s obvious that they brought the best out of each other. But a 6’9 Point Guard like Magic, I doubt we’ll ever see that again. And Bird’s basketball I.Q. was off the charts. They both were entertainers as well, and had a flare for the dramatic.

    And I grew up a 76ers (Dr. J.) fan, so at times, I hated both of them but loved them at the same time. I feared Bird more, because back then they only way to get to the NBA Finals in the east was to go through Bird and the Celtics, and it was next to impossible to beat them. But ultimately it comes down to winning, and it I had to pick one of the two to win me a championship, it would be Magic Johnson.


    • That’s a good point about Magic being a 6′ 9″ guard. His size and talent made it possible for him to play so many positions…and play them well.

      Seems overwhelmingly Magic who gets the edge here.


  3. I have to go with Bird. Kareem was the best Laker early in Magic’s career and MSU was a much better team than ISU. Bird was always the best player on his teams and thus drew the opponents best defender. Bird also earned 3 all def. team awards to zero for Magic, and Bird’s pts, reb & assts when totalled vs Magic’s in the 11 seasons each played has Bird with the higher total in 9 of 11 seasons and Bird played in a much tougher East conf. and Bird retired with the highest win % of any NBA player ever at just over 70%


    • All excellent points and a well-built case for Larry Bird. From all the emails we received from this article, some basketball fans actually sided with Magic partly because of his persona and being the more likable of the two. Wrong reasons in this debate to be sure.
      We feel his versatility on the court; by being able to play multiple positions, made him a more valuable player, but your raise some key elements to Bird’s all-around game that are worthy of consideration.
      Thanks so much for commenting!


      • One more reason for Bird as my choice, and I do miss watching both play, Bird with ROY and 2nd in season MVP voting in 81,82 83 and 88 and season MVP in 84,85 and 86 represents 8 of 12 seasons he played better than Magic. Not to pick on Magic, these guys are human – not machines – but Magic had poor performances in 81 vs Rockets and in 84 vs Celts. I think Bird was more clutch.


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