HBO SPORTS® BEGINS PRODUCTION ON DOCUMENTARY ABOUT
“MAGIC” JOHNSON AND LARRY BIRD, EXPLORING BASKETBALL’S
FIERCEST RIVALRY, TO DEBUT IN MARCH 2010
NEW YORK, Oct. 13, 2009 — HBO Sports has begun production on a documentary about basketball legends Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, chronicling what many consider the fiercest rivalry in sports, it was announced today by Ross Greenburg, president, HBO Sports. The special will trace the history of the competition between Los Angeles Lakers immortal “Magic” Johnson and Boston Celtics great Larry Bird, which began 30 years ago when they led their midwest universities to the 1979 NCAA Championship game, through a decade of dominance, when the two won three NBA MVP awards apiece and a combined eight NBA titles. Debuting in March 2010 on the eve of March Madness, the exclusive HBO presentation will also examine the different cultures that helped shape them and contributed to their unique styles, as well as explore their unlikely friendship.
“Larry Bird and ‘Magic’ Johnson are basketball royalty,” said Greenburg. “Their accomplishments speak for themselves at every level, but their intersecting back stories are just as rich and compelling as their championship performances. We will tell their full life stories and provide an in-depth portrait of their complicated and historic bond.”
Though sharing Midwestern roots and following the same team-oriented philosophy, the introverted Bird (from the small town of French Lick, Ind.) and the extroverted Johnson (from the industrial state capital of Lansing, Mich.) couldn’t be more different in personality. The two superstars talk at length about each other in the film and provide intimate insights into their remarkable lives. The special’s high-profile list of interviewees also includes Hall of Famer Pat Riley, who coached Johnson on the great Lakers teams of the 1980s; teammates Kevin McHale, Cedric Maxwell and Michael Cooper; and sports journalists Bryant Gumbel, Jackie MacMullan, Charles Pierce and Steve Springer.
HBO Sports’ documentary group has earned 28 Sports Emmy® Awards and seven Peabody Awards for production excellence, including Emmys® for Outstanding Sports Documentary for “Brooklyn Dodgers: The Ghosts of Flatbush” in 2008 and “Breaking the Huddle: The Integration of College Football” in 2009. HBO also presented the critically acclaimed special “Bill Russell: My Life, My Way” in 2000.
The executive producers of the documentary are Ross Greenburg and Rick Bernstein; produced by Ezra Edelman.