In Celtic green was Larry Bird, the hick from French Lick with laser-beam focus, relentless determination, and a deadly jump shot—a player who demanded excellence from everyone around him and whose caustic wit left opponents quaking in their high-tops. Magic Johnson was Mr. Showtime: young, indomitable, a magnetic personality with all the right moves, he was a pied piper in purple and gold and he burned with an inextinguishable desire to win. Their uncommonly competitive relationship came to symbolize the most thrilling rivalry in the NBA.

060211_MacMullan