The NBA along with Turner Entertainment announced in a release that basketball legends Larry Bird and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson will be the co-recipients of the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award, set to be given out during the third annual NBA Awards Show. The NBA Awards Show will be televised live from Los Angeles on June 24 at 9 p.m. ET.
Johnson and Bird are set to be the first co-recipients of the award since it was first awarded to Bill Russell two years ago in 2017. Last year, it was iconic point guard Oscar Robertson who took home the prestigious honor.
In the NBA, both Magic Johnson and Larry Bird embody greatness, with their careers on and off the court. Of course, the two are most well-known for their rivalry in the 1980s, dating all the way back to the NCAA championship game in 1979. Johnson’s Michigan State Spartans would defeat Bird and Indiana State, setting the stage for their rivalry to carry right over into the NBA.
There, the two had several memorable battles and helped add more fuel to one of the most bitter rivalries in all of sports between the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. Both are considered two of the best players to ever grace the game and earned spots in the NBA Hall of Fame, Johnson in 2002 and Bird in 1998. They were also teammates on the 1992 USA dream team which took home gold in Barcelona and the two would ultimately become extremely close friends.
Johnson is also known for his battle with HIV which is a cause he has since become extremely invested in. Johnson is also a co-owner of the LA Sparks and LA Dodgers, and served as the Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations for the last three seasons before resigning just over a month ago.
Bird has also been involved since his playing days concluded as an integral part of the Indiana Pacers‘ front office and serving as their President of Basketball Operations in two separate stints. Bird is now an advisor in the Indiana front office. You can watch both Bird and Johnson receive their Lifetime Achievement Award June 24 on TNT.