Charles Barkley On How The “Too Black, Thuggish, And Drug Infest” NBA League Was Transformed By Magic Johnson And Larry Bird

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are credited by Charles Barkley with modernizing the NBA, changing its perception, and driving up player wages

.Recently, Charles Barkley offered his thoughts on how, in their own eras, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird were instrumental in changing the NBA. In an interview with the “Club Shay Shay” podcast, Barkley underlined the two great players’ significant influence on the development of the league.


The two most significant players in NBA history are Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. If not for those two people, and Race played a role in that. It generated criticism, yet it remains the NBA’s greatest development ever.”


“Back then, the average pay was $200,000. First of all, it was too dark, too gangsta, too drug-infested, and Magic and Bird arrived too late. On Sundays, you had one game per week.


“There was just one game on Sunday, the finals were tap-delayed, and the average wage was $200,000. Currently, the average pay is $10 million. Three or four, I believe, are making $60 million year. There will be guys making 70, 80, and 90 in five years.

“I remember vividly… it broke that Magic Johnson had been the first NBA player to make a million dollars we were walking around high-fiving each other we could not believe we could not believe that an NBA player made a million dollars.”

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are arguably the two most important players in NBA history, according to Barkley. He emphasized how their entry into the NBA signaled a significant turning point, especially in addressing racial issues and changing the NBA’s perception.


Barkley asserts that the NBA had serious problems prior to Magic and Bird’s rise to fame. According to him, the league is thought to be “too black, too thuggish, too drug-infested,” and there is only one televised game each week, usually on Sundays, and games are even tape-delayed. Furthermore, the typical player’s pay at the time was only $200,000.

But Magic Johnson’s and Larry Bird’s influence extended off the court. Their rivalry and eventual collaboration to bring the NBA back to life attracted a lot of attention and greatly raised the league’s profile. The NBA saw exponential growth as a result in terms of player salaries, revenue, and viewership.


Barkley remembered how the players were shocked when Magic Johnson became the first player in NBA history to receive a million-dollar paycheck. This significant accomplishment marked the start of a new age of affluence for NBA players and represented a radical change in the league’s financial structure.



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