Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals (TV Movie 2010) Poster

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blitzhard563 April 2010
As a basketball fan and knowing that HBO does an excellent job with documentaries, I had high expectations for this, and it certainly didn't disappoint.

Born in 1981, I never fully appreciated the rivalry as it was happening, but this certainly put it in perspective. It covers every intricacy of both the rivalry and the two men as individuals. After viewing it I'm not sure that there is any story in the history of sports that's as unique and special as Bird and Magic.

It started in 1979 with the NCAA championship and continued on to the NBA for several years.

On one hand you have Bird, the introverted type-A personality from Indiana; on the other you have Magic, the happy-go-lucky extrovert. The two men couldn't be more different personality-wise. So naturally in the early stages of the rivalry they had every reason to dislike each other. Yet as things progressed and as they found out more about each other, the relationship softened. For all their differences, they were eerily similar on the court and because of that there was a deep-rooted respect. Things really started to change when they got together to shoot a commercial for Converse at Bird's home in Indiana. And when Magic first announced he had HIV, Bird was one of the first people to reach out to him. It's obvious how much that meant to Magic.

I believe that every professional athlete can learn so much from both of these guys. The respect they have for the game and for each other represents the greatness of sports. It's really what it's all about and this documentary captures it like nothing else I've ever seen. Brilliantly done.

I also found it amazing how much pain Bird was in during the latter stages of his career. Yet he kept toughing it out game after game, season after season. You'd be hard pressed to find any one who'd do that in today's game.
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Excellent Documentary
Michael_Elliott22 April 2012
Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals (2010)

**** (out of 4)

Exceptional documentary covering the rivalry between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. The film covers their first meeting in high school, their battle for the NCAA National Championship and then their battles in the NBA. Throughout their battles on the court we get to see what made the two men who they become, what different things they were doing off the court and finally what brought the two of them together as friends. If you're a sports fan then you already know this story but it's really amazing what this HBO documentary is able to do because it's just so excellent that it really makes you forget what you already know and it makes you feel as if you're hearing these stories for the first time. The documentary is just so much fun and so touching that you can't help but get caught up in the excitement in these two men. The documentary starts off talking about Johnson and Bird's early lives and we learn where they got their drive to try and become the greatest of their era. This strong passion forced both of them to see the other as the rival and it's just fascinating seeing two people with so much passion and fighting for the same thing. If you know the story then you know many of the stuff discussed here but it's still very entertaining. This includes their first shot at a friendship while shooting a commercial and then there's the story of Johnson's announcement that he's HIV positive. Sport fans are really going to be impressed with this documentary but the film is so strong that even those who don't know Bird and Magic will still find this entertaining. This is certainly one of the most energetic and touching documentaries that's out there and it's well worth watching.
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Well Done Documentary
vochieng8317 November 2018
What a lovely and well done documentary. I didn't plan to watch it all but the story just made me sit back and soak it all in. I wish I could have seen these two play. I started following the sport when I saw Michael Jordan with the Chicago Bulls.
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The Magic Bird :-)
runiijansagerdi197629 January 2019
For all my youth, Magic was the one, with even ever seeing the man play, but after seeing this Documentary, ewrything changed, and Larry Bird became my favorit Sports Star. This is the one Documentary, and the one Sports Rivalry that Towers above any one in Sports History. Its a Must watch.
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Absolutely One Of The Best Sports Documentary
Desertman847 June 2016
Warning: Spoilers
No question about it.This is definitely one of the best sports documentaries ever shown at HBO.Or better yet,the best documentary that tackles NBA legends and hall-of-famers Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics respectively.It gives the sports viewer tremendous information about the players' rivalry that started in college until their careers in the NBA as well as background on the players' humble beginnings from their hometowns until they found success in the NBA that included championships and MVP awards.Erstwhile,it also provides us some history of how these two greats helped the NBA survive the 70's when it was at the brink of its abolition as well as the leagues merger with the ABA.

The sports doc started with the 1979 NCAA Championship between the Indiana State University or ISU Sycamores and the Michigan State University or MSU Spartans that featured Bird and Magic respectively.It highlighted the two college superstars particularly their race and their talent.After the Spartans won over the Sycamores,the rivalry between the two stars carried into the NBA when both got drafted with Bird going to the Celtics and Magic going to the L.A. Lakers.The league capitalized on their said talent and race as well as the renewing of the rivalry between the said teams that occurred mostly on the 1960's and 70's.We get to witness Bird and Magic winning championships on their own like in the 1981 and 1982 season respectively and their meeting in the 1984 NBA Finals where the Celtics won as well as the 1985 and 1987 NBA Finals where the Lakers won.It also addressed on both players helped the league survive the 1970's when it was diminishing popularity before Michael Jordan came and solidified its status of being the most popular pro basketball league in the world. Finally,it brought into the end wherein Magic's career is cut short after being infected by the HIV virus and Bird retiring due to injuries in 1991 and 1992 respectively.

Aside from Magic and Bird,there were a lot of interesting interviews made from the likes of family members such as Magic's sister Evelyn and Bird's brother Mark; sportscasters Steve Springer and Charlie Pierce;and former NBA players such as Kevin McHale, Cedric Maxwell, Michael Cooper and former NBA coach and current Miami Heat President Pat Riley.All of them provided a lot of insights about the players featured.

This is definitely a great sports doc that one should not miss from an NBA fan whether they were old enough to witness these players or young enough not to see them at all.It will provide better appreciation of what they did to the league,the sport of basketball in terms of their greatness and how they revolutionized the game.Added to that,it also will give us better knowledge about them and the fact that the NBA does not consist of Air Jordan alone.Check this one out either on Amazon, YouTube or a DVD.
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Slowtime (web)
leplatypus16 September 2014
Well, this basketball documentary about Bird & Magic tries another approach than the amazing, fantastic, incredible comments from the NBA production. Here, it's more psychological with less highlights and more interviews! But, finally, I found it boring and as much « false » : it's like basketball which is a team sport can be reduced to only one player, even if he has extraordinary skills. All the more i must say that Magic exhausts me with his constant smile and laughs and i prefer without hesitation Bird who does his job and quits. The documentary is however interesting about their early career (rare footages) and make understand how those 2 players just fit with their city. Just imagine if Bird had played in LA and Magic in Boston ??? The other thing that we can understand is how their competitiveness and thirst for victories can never be quenched !!!
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