Magic Johnson, Larry Bird Tell Letterman About Rivalry and Friendship: [ send to a friend ]
NBA Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Larry Bird appeared on 'The Late Show' with David Letterman last night and talked about how rivalry stood in the way of their friendship.
The two were invited to appear on the same night as the official Broadway premiere of 'Magic/Bird', a play based on the rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics.
"Magic, were you inclined early on to become friends with this guy, because you were drawn to him because of his basketball abilities? Did you want to be friends with him from the beginning?," asked Letterman.
"From the beginning I wanted to be friends," replied Magic, "but Larry didn't want none of that. So I said, 'Okay, if that's how it's going to be, then we have to be like that'. You know, so I started disliking him."
"But he told me that I smiled all the time and he knew that I will smile at you but I want to cut your heart at the same time, so he knew that was part of my strategy is to get him, lure him in as my friend."
"So he didn't want to demonstrate any weakness by becoming your friend. Now, did you feel his advances to being a friend and you just rejected them? You were not interested?," Letterman asked Bird.
"It's not like one of my old girlfriends," laughed Bird. "When you say advances, I get a little scared."
"But, you know, my thing was when you compete, you're really not friends, you want to keep an edge, and I was like that through high school and through college, but Earvin's an outgoing guy. He loves everybody, he wants to high-five, and he's got that big smile."
"My goal was to try and take three of them teeth home with me after the game," Bird joked.
Letterman said the discussion probably reminded the audience about another rivalry: "I know what you're thinking at home, you're thinking to yourself, 'Jeez, it's just like Dave and Leno.'"
Later, when asked which one was the better played. Both Bird and Johnson named the other, for different reasons.