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HBO documentary on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird debuts tonight

March 6, 2010 |  2:48 pm

If the early reviews serve as any indication, it's that Lakers fans, Celtics fans and really all basketball fans are in for a treat tonight when HBO premieres its documentary, "Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals," at 8.

Below is a sneak peek with what's in store tonight.

As for the reviews? Below are a few excerpts from people who have seen an advanced copy.

From The Times' Diane Pucin:

"We know about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, Lakers and Celtics. But there is comfort in              hearing old stories and there is a chance to see Bird more relaxed and chatty than we've seen him         before. These two guys didn't like each other much at first. Now they do. How that happened is still a     good drama."

From Sports Illustrated's Nathaniel Friedman:

"Courtship of Rivals hits all the right historical notes and then some, even examining the Larry Bird   culture wars as a function of Reagan-era politics. In passing, it brings up perspectives you'd love to hear more about: that Magic and Bird are more similar than is regularly acknowledged, or the two  ushered in a new era by finally synthesizing NBA strategy with ABA flare. Yet, by presenting the Greatest Basketball Story Ever Told as a struggle, and then bond, between two strong personalities, you end up realizing that Larry Bird and Magic Johnson made history -- not the other way around." 

From ESPN Los Angeles' Brian Kamenetzky:

"I had a chance to view an advance copy, and it's absolutely fantastic. Incredibly well done, and               a must-view for Lakers and basketball fans alike. The film tells the story of the unlikely friendship               between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, and how it developed out of an intense rivalry on the court, beginning before either arrived in the NBA. Both of the principals involved are incredibly open and revealing- particularly the notoriously guarded Bird- and the story put together about these two iconic figures of basketball history, touching on issues of race, HIV, and more, is deeply compelling."

--Mark Medina

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