Magic gets the Bird before the OK

Play on basketball rivalry hoops it up on Broadway

When Magic Johnson first called up Larry Bird to float the idea of a bio-play about the legendary basketball rivals — a show that became Eric Simonson’s “Magic/Bird,” which just opened at Broadway’s Long-acre Theater — Bird told Johnson to shove it.

Or something like that. “You wanna tell them what you said to me, Larry?” Johnson asked Bird after the show’s April 11 opening- night perf.

Long, long pause. “I don’t think so,” Bird said at last.

“Trust me, it was short and to the point,” Johnson explained euphemistically.

At the afterparty at the Edison Ballroom, director Thomas Kail — who helmed last season’s sports-themed “Lombardi,” also by Simonson — said he was drawn to “Magic/Bird,” in part, because of the international appeal of basketball, a sport played by both men and women, and because of the new auds who maybe be encouraged to give Broadway a try with the show.

Plus, he got to hang out with a couple of sports legends. “Only for very limited times,” he said. “But it was potent.”

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