When the Game Was Ours by unknow


When the Game Was Ours by unknow

Author:unknow
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Non-fiction, History, Biography
ISBN: 9780547225470
Google: 4kLJkLerSaAC
Amazon: 0547225474
Barnesnoble: 0547225474
Goodreads: 6562380
Publisher: Mariner Books
Published: 2009-11-04T00:00:00+00:00



7. SEPTEMBER 12, 1985

West Baden, Indiana

LARRY BIRD STEERED his Honda motorcycle into the parking lot of the Honey Dew convenience store in the center of West Baden, Indiana. It was a warm, sunny morning, so he left his Ford Bronco, the car presented to him for winning the 1984 NBA Finals' Most Valuable Player Award, back home in the garage.

The car was spotless, as pristine as the day he received it, and although he didn't articulate it when they handed him the keys, it amazed him that someone would reward him with a car for playing basketball. His mother held down two jobs and his father labored through 12-hour shifts in order to fill grocery carts each week for Bird and his five siblings, and still there was never enough money left for a family automobile.

Bird had just completed his morning workout, so he was wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and sneakers when he stiffly unfolded his 6-foot-9-inch frame off the cycle and began filling his own tank. His injured back had improved only slightly, and with training camp just weeks away, Larry was growing concerned. He'd refrained from pushing himself through his usual grueling off-season program in hopes that the rest would heal his injury. While the time off had helped, he was skeptical that he'd be able to play an entire NBA season unless he could find a way to alleviate the jarring pain.

As he shifted his weight while he pumped his own gas, three sleek black limousines glided past him on Sawmill Road.

"Well, they're here," he said, to no one in particular.

Inside the second limousine, Earvin Johnson sat perched by the window. He surveyed the landscape of the modest Indiana town adjacent to French Lick, the birthplace of his most ardent competitor. Magic was surprised to discover it stirred memories of his own midwestern roots.

"This reminds me of Lansing," he said to his agent, Charles Tucker, squinting through the tinted windows.

Johnson fidgeted in the back seat. He was uneasy. He had spent the balance of his young career aiming to establish the upper hand in this increasingly heated rivalry between himself and Bird, the Lakers and the Celtics, and yet now he was traveling to Bird's backyard to engage in a joint endorsement campaign for Converse sneakers.

He knew how his Lakers coach, Pat Riley, would feel about it. He would be enraged. Riley despised the Celtics and would undoubtedly chafe at the knowledge that his star player was knowingly and willingly embracing his nemesis.

As the limos snaked up Bird's gravel driveway, Johnson leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes.

"Maybe," he lamented, "I shouldn't be doing this."

Bird, trailing the caravan back to his house, was also having second thoughts. He regularly chastised Celtics teammates who fraternized with the opponent before big games, yet here he was, hosting the player who had proved to be his most worthy adversary.

Bird didn't like the commotion that three luxury vehicles kicking up dust on his town's main thoroughfare was bound to cause.



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