Carmelo May Still Be In Denver, But Magic/Bird Set To Play In Big Apple

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, who told their stories in this 2009 book, will relive their rivalry-friendship on the stage in 2012.February 17, 2011: The New York Knicks have been trying for most of the 2010-11 season to acquire NBA all-star Carmelo Anthony from the Denver Nuggets.

Perhaps team management should hire the two Broadway entrepreneurs who already have brought an NFL coaching legend to New York and now are bringing two NBA Hall of Famers to the Big Apple.

Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo, the producers of Lombardi, said that they are preparing to stage Magic/Bird. The play will chronicle "the intertwined life stories of two of the most influential figures in sports and pop culture of the past 25 years, basketball Hall of Famers Larry Bird and Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson," according to the producers.

Also according to Kirmser and Ponturo, "Johnson and Bird themselves will participate in the creative process of this completely original play."

Like Lombardi, which focuses on the life of legendary coach Vince Lombari and is being produced in association with the NFL, Magic/Bird will be produced in association with the NBA.

According to David Stern, NBA commissioner, “The NBA is proud to support Magic/Bird, highlighting their rivalry from rookies in the NBA to Olympic Dream Team as a story for all ages, and one that we expect to be great theater on the Broadway stage as it was on the basketball court.”

The play, with a six character cast that has yet to be announced, is scheduled to debut on Broadway in 2012. It is being penned by Lombardi playwright Eric Simonson.

“The play will be fast-paced, mirroring the game of basketball, and will utilize film and photos from their historic competitive days," Ponturo said in a statement. "These men worked hard and pushed one another, transforming the sport of basketball and beyond, and significantly touching our popular culture."

“I have great love and respect for Larry Bird, and am elated that our personal and professional relationship will now be exposed to an even larger audience through this dramatic production,” Magic Johnson said in a statement. “Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo have a proven record not just of creating a successful production, but in making sure the story depicted is historically correct and impactful to a wide audience, and I am looking forward to assisting and supporting this effort in any way possible.”

Added Larry Bird, “I am fortunate to be working with great professionals such as Fran, Tony and Eric.  I am looking forward to working with them to create a story for the Broadway stage about such an exciting and important time in my life."

"These men worked hard and pushed one another, transforming the sport of basketball and beyond, and significantly touching our popular culture."

Both Bird, who spent his entire pro career with the Boston Celtics, and Johnson, whose entire NBA career was with the Los Angeles Lakers, are members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as well as the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Ponturo, who also is a producer of the Tony Award winning musical Memphis, spent more than 25 years as head of marketing at Anheuser-Busch and now oversees Ponturo Management Group, based in New York.

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