A Courtship Of Rivals

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson

Lemon and Lime

Sunday nights are pretty hard for me – I am not a day person by any stretch of the imagination and I usually am up until 2am on weekend nights. However, many weekends find me reverting back to a more “normal” time clock for me and I can see some extremely late “nights.” Such was the case last night when – instead of sleeping – I decided to stay up another hour and a half and watch HBO’s Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals.

I’m well aware of the history of the two men, have watched many of their duels from DVD collections and YouTube clips (sadly I didn’t start watching pro hoops until 2003!) and have studied their stats intimately. Still, I was truly amazed at how well this documentary was put together and even learned a thing or two. Not only did they get access to the starring duo, but also got some of their coaches, teammates, family members to give their side of the story. Touchy subjects like Magic’s penchant for the ladies and Bird’s iciness towards everyone weren’t ignored either so, overall, the integrity was high.

What I was most impressed with, however, was the production of the film in terms of integrating game footage. They found exact, specific moments that interviewees were discussing (and not just those famous Top 10 Of All Time highlights we’ve seen a thousand times) and really weaved them in so that they seemed fresh and exciting – like we were really going on the ride with Larry and Magic instead of re-watching the same thing we’ve all seen before.

I can’t recommend this quick hour-and-a-half long film enough for basketball buffs (especially budding ones)! Check it out on HBO – or I’m sure you can even find it for free on YouTube if you’re really clever.

Just make sure not to start watching it at 3 in the morning!