Broadway Musical to Tell Magic Johnson-Larry Bird Story

Two of the game's greatest and most colorful players

By Greg Wilson
|  Friday, Dec 9, 2011  |  Updated 7:35 AM EDT
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Broadway Musical to Tell Magic Johnson-Larry Bird Story

AP

NBA legends Magic Johnson of the LA Lakers and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics.

The story of basketball greats Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, whose paths crossed on collegiate and pro courts, is coming to Broadway.

A musical on the two called "Magic/Bird could open as soon as March, according to producers. The pair met in the 1979 college national championship, when Bird played for Indiana State and Johnson, whose real name is Earvin, for Michigan State. As pros, Bird's Celtics and Johnson's Lakers traded the NBA crown back and forth through the 1980s.

According to Playbill, Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, were behind the successful "Lombardi," the show about Green Bay Packers legend Vince Lombardi, who was played by Dan Lauria. Bird and Johnson are both reportedly participating in the creative process. Now they just need to find a pair of 6-foot-9 actors.

"We're very much in the middle of casting," Ponturo told Playbill. "Like every producer, you like to look for talent that has a reputation…in the theatre business. These will be names that people will recognize."

Bird is described in a casting notice as "fiercely competitive" and "uncompromisingly honest," with "a small-town suspicion of strangers, and loyalty to friends." Johnson is described as "charismatic, energetic and the life of the party," a man who is "fiercely competitive, outgoing, gregarious" with "unlimited ambition, ego and charm."

The superstars, widely seen as two of the five or so greatest players ever to play in the NBA, were both drafted in 1979, with Johnson leaving college after his sophomore year and being the first pick. Bird was drafted five picks later.

Johnson's Lakers won five NBA crowns, while Bird's team won three. They met in the championship in 1984, 1985 and 1987. Bird retired in 1992 after a 13-year career that saw him average 24.3 points and 10 rebounds per game while making the All-Star team every year. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.

Johnson played 12 years before he was forced to retire after acknowledging he was HIV -positive. He returned for r one season five years later. For his career, Johnson averaged 19.5 points and 11.2 assists per game and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002.

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