are dr j and larry bird friends

Larry Bird gets plenty of well-deserved credit. As a rookie, he helped turn around a Boston Celtics team that won 29 games the previous season into one that won a league-leading 61 during the 1979-80 NBA season. The following year, Bird led the Celtics to the first of three championships in the decade.

While Bird had all the talent and more than lived up to the hype, he had plenty of help as the decade progressed. He needed that assistance, especially when it came to playing against Philadelphia 76ers star Julius Erving.

The Atari 2600 had been instantly popular since its release in 1977, but the company’s glory days were over. EA came on to fill the gaming void.

Despite the failure of his first business endeavor, he had already planned to grow his passion for nerdy football games into something more. After the first microprocessor rental store opened in Los Angeles in 1975, Hawkins created his own major with a focus on game design and started to imagine the possible structure of his video game company.

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Still, the legacy of One-on-One endures. When placed next to the recently released NBA Playgrounds (which, incidentally, looks amazing as hell), it may be visually outdated, but its hip-hop vibe is still very much relevant. Just as rap records progressed past the basic party songs that typified the genre’s early years, EA released their statement game. It followed closely on the heels of Grandmaster Flash and was released in the same year as Kurtis Blow’s “Basketball,” which named-checked both Erving and Bird. The gritty, baked-asphalt, graffiti-strewn Rucker Park vibe of the song, which completely redefined hip-hop and captured the harsh realities of urban life, was also reflected in the packaging for One-on-One. The typography resembles the chalk drawings found on Gotham’s famous streetball courts. It was evident that The Get Down crew was performing at Shaolin Fantastic’s crib.

To assist with principal photography and to provide guidance to Hawkins and his team, Julius Erving took a plane to the company’s original headquarters in San Mateo, California. That was excellent, but Hawkins also needed to locate the ideal aesthetic counterpoint for Erving, a yin to Dr. J’s sky-walking yang. And it would help if they were already NBA rivals.

Larry Bird admitted facing Julius Erving was one tough task

Before the Larry Bird vs. The NBA rivalry between Magic Johnson and the Boston Celtics dates back to the mid-1980s. Julius Erving led the Philadelphia 76ers at the time. The Celtics and Sixers faced off in the Eastern Conference Finals for three consecutive years. Those battles were often heated.

“I laugh when I think about the greatest series that I’ve ever played in,” said former Celtics forward Cedric Maxwell on the Cedric Maxwell Podcast. “It wasn’t a championship series, but it had to be that Philadelphia/Boston 1981. Those were wars, man. They were wars.”

The Sixers always presented a problem. Guard Andrew Toney earned the moniker “The Boston Strangler” for his clutch performances against the Celtics. “Moses Malone led Philly to a championship in his first season with the team, the 1982–83 campaign, after joining from the Houston Rockets.”

Philadelphia, however, was led by Erving. The man known as “Dr. Throughout all 16 of his NBA/ABA seasons, J was an All-Star. The 6-foot-7 forward from UMass could do it all. He overmatched Bird in Bird’s early NBA days.

“My biggest defensive worry was trying to keep players like Dr. J from just doing whatever they wanted to do on the court,” Bird wrote in his book Drive: The Story of My Life. “I was afraid they were going to go around me every time or that I would get caught back on the fast break in an isolated situation.”


Did Larry Bird fight Julius Erving?

Here’s how heated things were between NBA legends Julius Erving and Larry Bird Nov. 9, 1984: Charles Barkley actually had to walk away. That’s how epic the Erving-Bird fistfight was at the Boston Garden. Erving and Bird were both ejected after brawling following an altercation on the court.

Were Magic and Bird enemies?

Their storied rivalry in the NBA began at that game, the most watched in the history of college basketball. One of the most storied rivalries in sports history became so ingrained in popular culture that it was even recreated as a Broadway show called “Magic/Bird”.