Although fans remember Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr., as the quintessential basketball rivals, their careers were bookended by brief periods of fantastic teamwork. With Jackie MacMullen, Bird and Johnson recount When The Game Was Ours (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26), describing how two men elevated their profession from a sports afterthought in the late 1970s to the height of the Olympic “Dream Team” in the early 1990s. What linked Bird and Magic, more than the games in which they competed, was the reflection of themselves they saw in each other. This bond held their friendship and respect together through difficult losses, racial tension, media hyperbole, and personal tragedy. Although they each had many great teammates, where winning was concerned, Bird and Magic spoke to each other in a language no one else on the court could understand.
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