ESPN to Commemorate 30th Anniversary of Bird-Magic NCAA Championship Game
Replay of the 1979 Indiana State-Michigan State NCAA Telecast on ESPN Classic (March 26) and ESPN2 (April 3 and 5)
Interviews with Bird, Johnson, plus Indiana State’s Bob Heaton and Michigan State’s Greg Kelser
Sports fans will have three opportunities on ESPN networks to see the classic 1979 NCAA championship game in which Earvin “Magic” Johnson (an ESPN analyst) and Larry Bird battled in the highest-rated college basketball game of all time, on its 30th Anniversary of the game, Thursday, March 26, at 5 p.m., ET, on ESPN Classic. It will also be aired Friday, April 3, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 5, at 2 p.m., on ESPN2.
The ESPN2 telecasts will include interviews with Bird and Johnson. In addition, host John Saunders will interview two players from that historic game, Bob Heaton (Indiana State) and Greg Kelser (Michigan State), as well as Dick Enberg, who called the play-by-play for NBC.
Also, a special one-on-one conversation between Magic and Bird will debut on the 11 p.m. ET SportsCenter Monday, April 6 and air on subsequent SportsCenters. The legends will sit down together in Detroit, site of that night’s NCAA men’s basketball championship.
In the NCAA championship game, Michigan State beat a previously undefeated Indiana State 75-64 in the first of many battles between Magic and Bird. Magic had 24 points, seven rebounds and five assists, while Bird shot 7-for-21. The game earned a remarkable 24.1 Nielsen rating, a number unsurpassed before or since for college basketball. The following year, the two legendary players became fierce rivals in the NBA.