*The playwright behind the Broadway play “Lombardi” is now setting his sights on the drama between NBA legends Larry Bird and Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
The Associated Press is reporting that Eric Simonson is working on “Magic/Bird,” a new play that will chronicle the rivalry between the basketball Hall of Famers.
Producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo were encouraged by the response to “Lombardi” — the story of legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi now on Broadway — to push ahead with a second sports-themed play.
“We’ve been fired on by the experience to keep on going and really feel that it can be a really thriving series,” Kirmser told AP Thursday.
The story will trace the two basketball stars’ rivalry and friendship from their days as rookies in the NBA to their appearance on the Olympic Dream Team in 1992. Johnson and Bird were key parts in the storied struggle between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers during the 1980s.
“Here are these two, amazing at their craft, inspiring to watch, and yet they couldn’t be more different people,” said Kirmser. “There was a fierce competitiveness between them and yet such a great love and respect.”
The six-character play is scheduled to debut on Broadway in 2012. The script is currently in development and no theater or director has been chosen yet. Johnson and Bird will participate in the creative process.
Like “Lombardi,” which benefited from endorsement by the National Football League, the new play about Bird and Magic will be produced in association with the National Basketball Association.