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“Every time I see him, I tell him thank you” - Charles Barkley pays respect to Magic Johnson and Larry Bird for saving the NBA

In an appearance on the  podcast,  explained how Larry Bird and Magic Johnson saved the league when it was at its lowest point.

Chuck said.

Saving the league

It’s hard to argue with Barkley’s assessment, and it’s widely known that Magic and  basically saved the NBA when it was on the brink of bankruptcy and extinction.

Through their spirited rivalry for the  and , the duo kept the heartbeat of the association alive and were the first pioneers of exposing the game globally to ensure its long-term safety.

Of course,  was a visionary for his time and put the plans in place, but Bird and Magic took the game to new heights and transformed the outlook of the NBA and its players forever.

Forever grateful

As the game has grown, so have the paychecks, which has enabled mere role players in today’s NBA set themselves for life.

For the majority of the league’s existence, this wasn’t the case, which is why Barkley takes the time out to thank  and the others that came before him for providing him with the opportunity to live comfortably after retirement.

Looking back, the league is extremely fortunate that two all-time great talents met during their primes and took turns in winning every individual and team honor the sport had to offer.

To this day, the Lakers-Celtics rivalry lives on, and it’s down to the intense battles and storied history that Magic and Bird were at the heart of. 

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