Magic, Bird to receive NBA Lifetime Achievement Awards
Former rivals Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are to receive a joint Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 NBA Awards, the league announced on Wednesday. Johnson and Bird forged an epic rivalry during the 1980s when the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics were locked in a long-running battle for basketball supremacy.
The award comes 40 years after Johnson led Michigan State to the NCAA championship in a 75-64 win over Bird's Indiana State team on March 26, 2019.
Their matchups as the central figures in the historic Lakers-Celtics rivalry, combined with the emergence of Michael Jordan, re-energized the NBA in the 1980s.
Johnson and Bird each won three NBA Most Valuable Player awards and were selected to nine All-NBA first teams and 12 All-Star games. Both are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as individual players and as part of the 1992 Olympic "Dream Team."
Johnson, 59, won five NBA championships in 13 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bird, 62, won three titles in his 13 years with the Boston Celtics.
They will be honored at the 2019 NBA Awards show in Los Angeles. Previous winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award are Bill Russell (2017) and Oscar Robertson (2018).