In the midst of what has been a prolonged NBA work stoppage, basketball fans have had nowhere to turn. The season should be in full swing, but instead we are confided to headlines surrounding Basketball Related Income (BRI) and and other issues separating the two sides from a new labor agreement.
Last night Comcast SportsNet New England put on an event to remind basketball junkies what they’re missing. In the spring of 2012 the producers that brought us the riveting Broadway show Lombardi will unveil their latest masterpiece, Magic Bird. This tail will follow the greatest matchup in professional basketball history between the Los Angeles Lakers’ Magic Johnson and Boston Celtics’ Larry Bird. How do the producers plan on presenting this tale? “With classic basketball footage throughout, Magic Bird transports the audience into the heart of this matchup, which reinvigorated the NBA and fascinated the nation” (Magic Bird Broadway).
The story will take the audience from the momentous 1979 NCAA Championship game between Bird’s Indiana State team and Magic’s Michigan State squad through their time together on the 1992 USA Olympic team. ”Their differences were clear. White and black. Quiet, small town guy and urbanite with a big smile and Hollywood appeal” (Magic Bird Broadway). It is indeed a perfect idea for a script.
Producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo were on hand last night at West End Johnnies on Portland Street as CSNNE’s Gary Tanguay emceed a question and answer session. Fran and Tony explain everything from their inspiration for the play to their plans for integrating in game situations. The passion that oozed from them will surely carry over the stage. Notably, the play was indeed created with input on the script from both Johnson and Bird.
The great Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman also ran a panel. This panel included legendary Celtics player, coach, and now color analyst Tommy Heinsohn and the stoic author of the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson book When the Game Was Ours Jackie MacMullan. This spirited discussion truly brought the viewers into the lives of the rivalry as only Tommy and Jackie could with their accurate accounts of the tails.
Comcast SportsNet New England has had an unmatched fall lineup starting with its Patriots Jerod Mayo event in September, its Bruins Shawn Thornton event in October, and now this wonderful outing. Continuing the bring the sports community to them, CSNNE is building a great name for themselves and the coverage they provide.
The play, which starts February 27, promises to be a great account of the rivalry and certainly worth a trip to New York City.