LOS ANGELES (AFP) – 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 NBA said the duo would be honored with the award at a ceremony in Los Angeles on June 24. The two previous recipients of the award are Bill Russell (2017) and Oscar Robertson (2018).
Johnson and Bird’s rivalry captured the imagination of basketball fans during their heyday, and helped drive the success of the modern NBA.
The two men both won three NBA Most Valuable Player Awards and are members of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
They were also members of USA Basketball’s 1992 Olympic gold-medal-winning “Dream Team.”
Both spent their entire careers with one team, Johnson winning five NBA crowns with the Lakers and Bird three with the Celtics.