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Different in background, position and style, it was their similarities – and resulting mass appeal – that endure the most. Larry Bird and Earvin "Magic" Johnson first met when Michigan State and Indiana State met in the 1979 NCAA national title game. Magic's Spartans were victorious, but both would make their mark on the next level in a way that only Michael Jordan would ever equal.
Magic's career numbers through his 13 seasons are impressive: 17,707 points (19.5 PPG), 10,141 assists (11.2 APG), 6,559 rebounds (7.2 RPG) and 1,724 steals (1.9 SPG). A 12-time All-Star and two-time All-Star Game MVP, Johnson also led his Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships en route to being named the league's Most Valuable Player three times.
Larry Legend's stats over his 13 years are equally notable: 21,791 points (24.3 PPG), 8,974 rebounds (10.0 RPG), 5,695 assists (6.3 APG) and 1,556 steals (1.7 SPG). Also a 12-time All-Star, Bird also led his Boston Celtics to three NBA titles en route to being named the league's Most Valuable Player three times.
These men typified the game in every way. Unfortunately for the NBA, their impact may never be duplicated.