Tomorrow evening the Broadway play Magic/Bird has its opening night. The play follows the rivalry–and ultimately friendship–between NBA legends Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Starring Kevin Daniels as Johnson and Tug Coker as Bird, the play chronicles the careers of the two men, from college to retirement, with Johnson’s HIV diagnosis a key turning point.
The play uses the media, from college beat reporters to Bryant Gumbel to a now-infamous Converse ad, to help move the plot forward. Francois Battiste, who plays multiple characters in the play, delivers a dynamite Gumbel impersonation, bringing laughs every time he assumed the role on stage (pictured below).
In Lombardi, the protagonist was a young reporter looking to profile the legendary Packers coach. His tale propelled the story forward in a linear way.