Charles Barkley explains how Magic Johnson and Larry Bird changed the NBA’s ‘too black, gangster, drug addict’ league

Charles Barkley thanked Magic Johnson and Larry Bird for revolutionizing the NBA, changing its image and driving up player salaries.

Charles Barkley recently shared his thoughts on how Magic Johnson and Larry Bird played key roles in transforming the NBA during their era. On the “Club Shay Shay” podcast, Barkley emphasized the huge influence these two legendary players have had on the trajectory of the league.

“The two most important players in NBA history are Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. If it weren’t for those two, the race would have had something to do with it. “We drew the line, but it’s still the best thing that ever happened to the NBA.”

“The average salary at that time was $200,000. When Magic and Bird came out, first of all, the game was too black, too gangster, too drug-filled, and we were on tape…once a week on Sunday. There’s a match. “The final was postponed, there was only one game on Sunday, and the average salary was $200,000. Now the average salary is $10 million… I think there are three or four people making $60 million a year. Within the next five years, there will be players scoring 70, 80, 90 points. ”

“I remember clearly… Word spread that Magic Johnson was the first NBA player to win $1 million, and we congratulated each other, but we couldn’t believe that an NBA player had won $1 million.

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Barkley claimed that Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are perhaps the two most important figures in NBA history. He emphasized that their entry into the league was a decisive turning point, particularly in combating racial issues and changing the NBA’s image. Barkley said that before Magic and Bird came along, the NBA was in serious trouble. He described the league as “too black, too gangster, too drug-filled,” with games delayed by tape and limited to one televised game a week (usually on Sundays). Moreover, the average salary for a player at that time was only $200,000.

But Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s influence extended beyond the courtroom. Their rivalry and subsequent partnership for the NBA’s revival garnered widespread attention and greatly increased the league’s popularity. As a result, the NBA has seen dramatic increases in viewership, revenue, and player salaries. Barkley remembers the players’ surprise when Magic Johnson became the first NBA player to earn a $1 million annual salary. This milestone symbolized a dramatic change in the league’s financial situation and marked the beginning of a new era of prosperity for NBA players. NBA players currently have lucrative contracts and salaries at an all-time high, with the average salary exceeding $10 million. Barkley said he expects the upward trend in salaries to continue, with some players expected to earn between $70 million and $90 million annually in the near future. The evolution of NBA contracts over the decades provides interesting insight into the changing landscape of professional basketball. From Bob Cousy’s modest $25,000-per-year contract in the 1950s to Jaylen Brown’s staggering $65.6 million contract in the 2020s, these contracts reflect how the league has changed over time. It is a powerful symbol of what you have done. Some Pioneer players were the first to achieve remarkable salary levels ranging from $15,000 to $60 million in a single season.

Essentially, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s influence went beyond basketball. Their contributions not only turned the NBA into a global phenomenon, but also paved the way for future generations of players to thrive on and off the court.

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird may have played a bigger role in saving the league than Michael Jordan
Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are often cited as saviors during a critical period in NBA history. Their on-field rivalry in the 1980s went beyond mere competition and revitalized a league struggling with financial instability, declining television ratings, and image issues.

In the early 1980s, the NBA was going through a difficult time. Attendance was declining and the league’s television contract was in jeopardy. It was in this context that Magic and Bird became the faces of their teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Their contrasting styles and personalities captivated audiences and reignited interest in the sport.

The rivalry between the Magic and Bird was more than just a clash between two basketball giants. It was a story that captured the imagination of fans across the country. Their rivalry is legendary, from their legendary battle in the NBA Finals to their iconic showdown in the NCAA Tournament. Their matches became must-see events on television, captivating viewers and reinvigorating the league’s appeal. But perhaps more importantly, Magic and Bird represented a break from the NBA’s troubled past. At a time when the league was perceived as too black and too urban, Magic and Bird offered a different version. Magic appealed to a wider audience with his infectious smile and flamboyant style of play, while Bird with his work ethic and no-nonsense approach. They became ambassadors for the game, breaking down racial and cultural barriers and ushering in a new era of inclusivity. Their influence extended beyond the courtroom. Their success led to increased media attention and corporate sponsorship, bringing much-needed revenue to the league. Television ratings soared, the NBA’s popularity reached new heights, the league found its savior in two players, Magic and Bird, and their rivalry helped fuel the league’s resurgence. Although Michael Jordan would later solidify the NBA’s place in global sports, it was Magic Johnson and Larry Bird who laid the foundation for its success. Their contributions to the league on and off the field cannot be overstated. In many ways, Magic and Bird became the architects of the modern NBA, shaping its trajectory for decades to come.

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Thank you for reading Fadeaway World. If you liked this article, please follow us on Google News. Thank you very much for your support. Vishwesha Kumar is a Bengaluru-based sports journalist who specializes in basketball analysis for Fadeaway World. With a Bachelor of Technology degree from PES University, his analytical skills enrich his deep insight into the nuances of the game. A prolific writer, Vishwesha has written more than 2,000 articles, making complex basketball strategies accessible and entertaining. His work reflects not only his experience, but also his passion for sports, inspired by basketball legends like LeBron James.

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