Back in 1984, I was a bright eyed college freshman who arrived to my first day at my freshman dormitory and met the girl who would be my college roommate. I was as excited as I had ever been. My mom had planned my dormitory supplies well. I had new bedding, flashy new pillows, coordinating blankets and sheets, tons of toiletries (it is me, after all) new clothes and big dreams. My roommate and I, shook hands, met each others families, then said our goodbyes to them and immediately got busy setting up shop on our own "side of the room."
For me that was a bed, a bureau, some shelves, and a desk. My mom and I had picked out together almost everything, except for the wall art. That was my job alone, and I could only imagine what my roommate thought when the first thing I did was hang two enormous posters, side by side, over my bed. One poster was of Larry Bird and the other was of Magic Johnson. A huge Celtics fan, then now and forever, back then Larry and Magic were the show and I was besotted. And so was the nation.
Their rivalry was legendary, and in that shared history they ultimately became friends. The learned about the game from each other, they learned about themselves from each other and Magic says that Larry's presence on the court made him a better player and a better man. The great Boston Globe sports scribe, Jackie MacMullen, (who is from my home town of Westwood, MA, and who I know) had the incredible opportunity to co-author a book with these two legends. "When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Magic Johnson" tells the tale of how these sports legends basketball careers coincided from college; Bird at Indiana State and Magic at Michigan State through to their NBA careers. Both men always observing the other, often time obsessing over achievements.
It is no surprise to me that on this Wednesday a new show on Broadway opens up entitled, "Magic Bird". It's a show that gives me goosebumps because it takes me back to a time when these two were Kings of the parquet and I was buying whatever they were selling. While sport and theatre may mirror each other in their spectacle, the real story here is of mutual respect, admiration, determination, perseverance and show business. Win or loose, we wanted to experience every second of it because we knew they wouldn't disappoint. We loved the show.
Here's hoping Magic Bird on Broadway doesn't disappoint.