“I express my gratitude to him every time I see him.” – Charles Barkley honors Magic Johnson and Larry Bird for their contributions to the NBA’s survival.

Barkley elucidated the reasons behind the iconic status of Magic and Bird in NBA history.

Charles Barkley discussed how Larry Bird and Magic Johnson kept the NBA afloat during its darkest hours in a podcast appearance.

“The two most significant players in NBA history are Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, so I always tell him thank you when I meet him. People are unaware of this; just take a look at these individuals who are earning $30, $40, or even $50 million dollars these days. It was David Stern’s first year when I started. Two hundred thousand dollars was the average pay. Chuck remarked, “Magic and Bird, those guys changed the NBA’s entire trajectory and made it what it is today.”

 

Preserving the league

Barkley’s opinion is difficult to contest, as it is common knowledge that Magic and Bird essentially kept the NBA afloat when it was in danger of going bankrupt or extinct.

 

These two, with their fierce rivalry for the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, were the driving forces behind the association’s survival and were the first to promote the game internationally in order to secure its long-term viability.

Of course, Bird and Magic elevated the game to new heights and permanently changed the perception of the NBA and its players. David Stern was a visionary for his time and laid the plans.

 

Always appreciative

Payrolls have increased along with the game, allowing mere role players in the NBA now to have lifetime careers.

 

This wasn’t the case for most of the league’s existence, so Barkley takes a moment to express his gratitude to Magic and the people who came before him for giving him the chance to live happily in retirement.

 

In retrospect, the league is incredibly lucky that two legendary players teamed up in their primes and alternated between taking home every individual and team trophy available in the sport.

Due of the fierce contests and legendary past that Magic and Bird were a part of, the Lakers-Celtics rivalry endures today.

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