May 15 (UPI) — Pro Basketball Hall of Fame players Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird, who helped propel the NBA’s popularity with their rivalry in the 1980s, will be co-recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The league, along with Turner Sports, announced Wednesday that the Hall of Famers will receive the prestigious honor June 24 at the 2019 NBA Awards.
Bird and Johnson, teammates on the 1992 U.S. Olympic team, both won three MVP awards in their illustrious careers. The honor for the players comes on the 40th anniversary of their meeting in the 1979 NCAA championship game, which is still the highest-rated game on television in college hoops history. Johnson and Michigan State defeated Bird’s Indiana State in the title game.
Johnson won five championships with the Lakers in the 1980s, and Bird’s Boston Celtics won three titles. Bird went on to serve as both coach and president of the Indiana Pacers. He became the only individual in league history to be named MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year.
Johnson also held a head coaching role and executive position with the Lakers. He had a short stint as coach in 1993-94 and recently stepped down as team president after two campaigns.
Bill Russell was the first winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2017. Oscar Robertson received the honor last year.