This Day In Sports History (May 29th) — Larry Bird
It was on this day in 1980 that Larry Bird was awarded the NBA Rookie of the Year. He would beat out his rival, Magic Johnson, to earn the honor.
The rivalry between Bird and Johnson began during their college years, as Bird won several individual awards while playing at Indiana State in 1979, including the John R. Wooden Award and Naismith College Player of the Year honors, but lost to Magic’s Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA Tournament Championship Game. Their rivalry would continue as soon as these two superstars entered the NBA, as they battled it out for the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Bird won the award by averaging 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 1.7 blocks per game during the 1980 season, as he narrowly edged Magic, who averaged 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists of his own that season.
These two superstars would help their teams earn the next three NBA Titles (two for the Lakers and one for the Celtics), and they would face off against one another during the 1984, 1985 and 1987 finals. Bird’s Celtics would win the first of those championship series, while Magic would help his Lakers win the latter two.
Here is a look at Larry Bird’s top 10 playoff moments.
Carmelo Anthony, NBA – Born on May 29, 1984 (age 29) in Brooklyn, New York
Andrei Arshavin, Soccer – Born on May 29, 1981 (age 32) in Leningrad, Soviet Union
Jerry Hairston Jr., MLB – Born on May 29, 1976 (age 37) in Des Moines, Iowa