2017-2018 Fantasy Football RB Rankings

Check out the podcast on Running Backs here!

 

RB Rankings Jason John Dylan Dan
1. David Johnson Le’Veon Bell David Johnson Le’Veon Bell
2. Le’Veon Bell David Johnson Le’Veon Bell David Johnson
3. Ezekiel Elliott Ezekiel Elliott Ezekiel Elliott Ezekiel Elliott
4. Demarco Murray Lesean McCoy Devonta Freeman Lesean McCoy
5. Devonta Freeman Devonta Freeman Lesean McCoy Demarco Murray
6. Lesean McCoy Demarco Murray Jordan Howard Devonta Freeman
7. Jay Ajayi Jay Ajayi Demarco Murray Melvin Gordon
8. Melvin Gordon Melvin Gordon Melvin Gordon Todd Gurley
9. Leonard Fournette Jordan Howard Jay Ajayi Jordan Howard
10. Jordan Howard Todd Gurley Todd Gurley Leonard Fournette
11. LeGarrette Blount Lamar Miller Leonard Fournette Lamar Miller
12. Todd Gurley Marshawn Lynch Lamar Miller Jay Ajayi
13. Lamar Miller Leonard Fournette Isaiah Crowell Carlos Hyde
14. Christian McCaffrey Carlos Hyde Mark Ingram Spencer Ware
15. Carlos Hyde Christian McCaffrey Christian McCaffrey CJ Anderson
16. Paul Perkins CJ Anderson Paul Perkins Isaiah Crowell
17. CJ Anderson Isaiah Crowell CJ Anderson Ty Montgomery
18. Isaiah Crowell Ty Montgomery Mike Gillislee Mark Ingram
19. CJ Anderson Eddie Lacy Carlos Hyde Christian McCaffrey
20. Marshawn Lynch Adrian Peterson Tevin Coleman Bilal Powell
21. Frank Gore Frank Gore Doug Martin Eddie Lacy
22. Bilal Powell LeGarrette Blount Ameer Abdullah Danny Woodhead
23. Mark Ingram Mark Ingram Ty Montgomery Dalvin Cook
24. Dalvin Cook Dalvin Cook Spencer Ware Kenneth Dixon
25. Ty Montgomery Matt Forte Eddie Lacy Frank Gore
26. Ameer Abdullah Paul Perkins LeGarrette Blount Tevin Coleman
27. Tevin Coleman Theo Riddick Frank Gore Theo Riddick
28. Danny Woodhead Kenneth Dixon Dalvin Cook Adrian Peterson
29. Eddie Lacy Doug Martin Bilal Powell Ameer Abdullah
30. Samaje Perine Kareem Hunt Kareem Hunt CJ Procise

2017-2018 Fantasy Football QB Rankings

FANTASY FOOTBALL IS BACK!! The group is here to rank the quarterbacks this year for your fantasy team!! Check out our podcast channel and there is an episode all about fantasy QB’s!

Top 20 Quarterbacks Jason Dylan John Dan
1. Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers Aaron Rodgers
2. Tom Brady Tom Brady Tom Brady  Drew Brees
3. Drew Brees Drew Brees Matt Ryan  Tom Brady
4. Derek Carr Matt Ryan Drew Brees  Matt Ryan
5. Matt Ryan Andrew Luck Ben Roethlisberger  Ben Roethlisberger
6. Andrew Luck Russell Wilson Andrew Luck  Derek Carr
7. Russell Wilson Ben Roethlisberger Cam Newton  Andrew Luck
8. Ben Roethlisberger Marcus Mariota Eli Manning  Marcus Mariota
9. Kirk Cousins Derek Carr Derek Carr  Cam Newton
10. Jameis Winston Jameis Winston Jameis Winston  Jameis Winston
11. Cam Newton Kirk Cousins Russell Wilson  Russell Wilson
12. Philip Rivers Cam Newton Kirk Cousins  Tyrod Taylor
13. Eli Manning Dak Prescott Marcus Mariota  Carson Wentz
14. Dak Prescott Matthew Stafford Matthew Stafford  Dak Prescott
15. Matthew Stafford Eli Manning Dak Prescott  Kirk Cousins
16. Marcus Mariota Philip Rivers Philip Rivers  Matthew Stafford
17. Carson Wentz Blake Bortles Carson Wentz  Eli Manning
18. Carson Palmer Tyrod Taylor Andy Dalton  Philip Rivers
19. Blake Bortles Carson Wentz Tyrod Taylor  Andy Dalton
20. Andy Dalton Andy Dalton Carson Palmer  Blake Bortles

This Better Work– The Latest Lakers Edition

One month later and Laker fans are saying the same thing, “This better work”.

 

It started off mid-season last year when Jeanie Buss fired her brother and Mitch Kupchak, for the glamorous Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka. The 2nd half of the season gave fans reason to hope.

D’Angelo Russell made a game winner and scored 40 on the defending champs, Brandon Ingram put up new career highs on a nightly basis along with a poster dunk, Ivica Zubac showed flashes of potential to be the next Lakers center of the future, Jordan Clarkson looked prime to be the sixth man of the year, and the list goes on and on.

The offseason consisted of questions about Lonzo Ball and D’Angelo Russell’s fit and questions about whether or not Paul George would be a Laker. The season couldn’t start soon enough.

The only knock on Magic Johnson as the new president of basketball operations was could he be patient enough to let the young guys develop? He seems to love Brandon Ingram, as he has stated multiple times he is untouchable. D’Angelo Russell didn’t get much praise since the new regime came in.

On June 20, 2017, the Lakers future and plans changed drastically. No longer would the Lakers be developing young talent and turning into “the next Warriors”. Magic and Pelinka shipped D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and pick 27 in the draft.

D’Angelo was the first player to bring the Lakers out of the Kobe era. His “Ice in my veins” and flashy plays, brought Laker fans excitement. The front office didn’t think Russell was a good enough leader, so they shipped him off for an expiring deal above average center and a deep 1st rounder. Lakers Outsiders put it best, “He gave the Lakers Ice in His Veins and they responded with the cold shoulder.”

Mozgov was also traded and that part of the trade shows the Lakers new focus. Get stars to come back to La La Land. By getting rid of the god-awful Mozgov, the Lakers cleared up 56 million dollars in cap. They can now sign one and possibly two max deals in 2018. LaMarcus Aldridge, Carmelo Anthony, and Kevin Durant didn’t make it clear enough. The Lakers don’t have the appeal they used to anymore. Yes, Paul George’s situation is different because he has publicly told the Lakers and Pacers he wants to go there. But is the Lebron scenario that much different?

These type of moves were the ones that us, as Laker fans, were worried about. Magic pulled the trigger on a two-year removed #2 overall pick, to HOPE that the Lakers can get Lebron. The new gameplan is sign stars, but let’s hope Magic and Pelinka have a different way of doing it than Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss. We know how that worked out.

This better work. Because if not, it could be a LONG process back to the top.

Jason Gandhi’s NBA Big Board

 

  • Lonzo Ball (1)

 

      1. Lonzo’s court vision and his ability to set his teammates up are the reasons he is my #1 player. He makes guys want to share the ball and orchestrated the fastest offense in college last year. Defensively, there is some work to do, but defense is a mentality. With his shot making ability, court vision and length, Lonzo, on the right team, could be a superstar in this league. My player comparison for him is Steve Nash or Jason Kidd.

 

  • Markelle Fultz (2)

 

      1. Everyone’s number one guy on their big board. I am not as high on him purely because of how dependent he is on having the ball and not having the winning pedigree. He can still score from anywhere and is very comfortable in pick and roll, something he has over Lonzo. He has superstar potential but needs to get more disciplined on defense and be better off the ball. My player comparison is D’Angelo Russell.

 

  • Jayson Tatum (3)

 

      1. Tatum, in my opinion, is the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft. He is 6’8” with a 6’11” wingspan, which will allow him to play the stretch 4 at the next level. He is very polished offensively but really needs to be more consistent on offense. He lacks elite athleticism but makes up for it with his length. This guy could be a perennial all-star. My player comparison is Danny Granger.

 

  • Josh Jackson (4)

 

      1. Jackson’s defense is the best in the draft. He is able to consistently guard 4 positions and is a freak athlete. His offensive game is where I’m hesitant. His shot needs a lot of work, and I’m not sure he can ever develop one. If he does, I think he could be the best player out of the class, but I personally do not buy that he develops it. My player comparison for him is Kawhi Leonard assuming he gets his shot.

 

  • De’Aaron Fox (5)

 

      1. De’Aaron Fox is hard to get a read on from NBA scouts. Some like him more than Ball, but others will put him below Dennis Smith Jr. I like him in the middle because of his potential to be a star in the league. His shot is below average, but he can still hit mid-range and floaters. His athleticism is phenomenal but weighing only 170 pounds factors into whether or not his athleticism will be put on display. He needs to get stronger in order to be able to take it into the paint in the NBA. My player comparison for him is John Wall.

 

  • Malik Monk (6)

 

      1. Monk is one of the safest picks in the draft. If nothing else develops, teams at least get a solid shooter to instantly score. If his defense and basketball IQ can develop, he can be a steal in the draft. He is this class’s best scorer so whatever team gets him at least gets an offensive stud. My player comparison is Devin Booker/Eric Gordon

 

  • Dennis Smith Jr. (7)

 

      1. Dennis Smith is another prospect who is very NBA ready already. He fits the modern NBA very nicely, being able to run PnR as well as score when necessary. He is on the rise for me right now as I watch more and more of his film. He has elite bounce and athleticism and that will make him a lot of people’s favorite player to watch out of this draft. My player comparison is Derrick Rose in his prime.

 

  • Jonathan Isaac (8)

 

      1. The best athlete of the draft. His freakish body and athleticism along with stellar defense this year has some scouts liked him as a better prospect than Jayson Tatum. Isaac’s offensive game needs too much work for me to put him that high, but I do like his potential in the right system. My player comparison is Giannis Antetokounmpo or Rashard Lewis

 

  • Frank Ntilinka (9)

 

      1. Ntilinka has a very raw offensive game. He struggles to shoot from deep but can drive the lane if needed. His defense is the reason he is so high on draft boards. The Mavericks are a team that has scouted him very thoroughly and the Knicks are another team that is in play, in the early lottery, to look at Ntilinka. My player comparison is Dante Exum.

 

  • Harry Giles (10)

 

      1. Giles’ is the hardest prospect to gauge. His talent puts him as a top 5-10 player easily. It’s the medical side that is the problem. With multiple ACL tears, teams have to be worried about. He has had three knee surgeries since 2013, so a major flag. If his tests come back showing no issues, he could be a late riser on draft night. My player comparison is Chris Webber or Julius Randle with a longer body.

 

  • Lauri Markkanen (11)

 

      1. Some people have said Markkanen has the best shot in the draft. I’d say he is second to Monk. He is the definition of a stretch 4 but really can’t go inside even if the team needed him to. He is very weak inside which limits his value to me, but his shooting makes him a definite lottery pick in the draft. Stretch 4’s are the most coveted position in the NBA right now. My player comparison is Dirk Nowitzki or Ryan Anderson

 

  • Zach Collins (12)

 

      1. Although Collins only attempted 21 threes (made 10), many project Zach Collins as a stretch 4 in the NBA. I don’t see it yet, but with his size and athleticism that could be his future. A lot of his position depends on where he is taken on draft night. To me, Collins is a lock to be a lottery pick on draft night, but where is the real question. My player comparison is Bill Laimbeer or Gorgui Dieng.

 

  • OG Anunoby (13)

 

      1. Giles is very similar to Giles in the respect that his talent his lottery-worthy, but the question mark pops up with his health. After injuring his ACL in January, teams need to decide whether a lottery pick is worth a player with injury history. His defense, pre-injury, would rival with Jackson for best in the class. The only concern was offensive consistency and getting a shot down. Very similar to Josh Jackson pre-injury. My player comparison is Stanley Johnson.

 

  • Donovan Mitchell (14)

 

      1. Coming into the combine, I, along with others, was not this high on Mitchell. He had the best testing at the combine without playing a minute of basketball. He showed his 6’10” wingspan and a better athlete and defender to a very similar Luke Kennard. Kennard and Mitchell are battling it out to see who will get called first. My player comparison is a less athletic Dwyane Wade.

 

  • Luke Kennard (15)

 

      1. As mentioned above, Kennard and Mitchell are very similar. Both are rising up draft boards as the day nears this week. Kennard is a better shooter than Mitchell but doesn’t have the athleticism. I think Kennard has more defensive potential, but right now Mitchell is a better defender. My player comparison is Klay Thompson with less defensive ability.

 

  • Justin Jackson (16)

 

      1. I like Jackson more than others. I think his potential as a 3 and d prospect is one that can keep in the league for a long time. If he can consistently defend 4 positions, and shoot the 3 in the high 30%’s, he can be a starter in this league for many years. My player comparison is Evan Turner.

 

  • Justin Patton (17)

 

      1. I think he has potential to be a steal in this draft. He isn’t a great athlete, but he can score in the post and rebound very effectively. The only concern I have with him is his lateral movement. He has poor foot speed, which could hurt him against quicker bigs. My player comparison is Myles Turner.

 

  • Terrance Ferguson (18)

 

      1. Ferguson has spurts in his game that make him look like a lottery pick, but there are also times when he looks like a 2nd rounder. He is VERY inconsistent. But he has potential to be an offensive stud. He was able to score at will some games so scouts have reason to be excited. My player comparison is Terrence Ross.

 

  • John Collins (19)

 

      1. John Collins had a phenomenal offensive season for the Demon Deacons. He was the focal point of Wake Forest’s offense last year and he blossomed nicely. His testing at the combine helped his stock rise, including a 38.5 inch vertical. He played a small center in college but being only 6’10” with a 6’11” wingspan, he will have to transition. Defensively, he isn’t long enough. He needs to show his shooting ability this summer and if he can get that going, he has a long future in the NBA.  My player comparison is Nikola Mirotic.

 

  • Jarrett Allen (20)

 

      1. Jarrett Allen’s length is his main selling point. He has a 7’5” wingspan and is going to be a defensive nightmare. The only real issue is his raw skill. He could be a major project in the league, similar to Roy Hibbert for the Pacers, but if he develops, he could be special. My player comparison is Robin Lopez or Rudy Gobert

 

  • Bam Adebayo (21)

 

      1. Edrice “Bam” Adebayo has risen and fallen throughout the year. For me, when I would study Fox or Monk’s tape, I couldn’t help but watch Adebayo and all the energy and athleticism he brought to the game. He tested well at the combine and might be rising again. He could go anywhere from late teens to end of the 1st. My player comparison is Tristan Thompson.

 

  • Jordan Bell (22)

 

      1. My 2nd favorite player in the draft. Bell seems to never run out of energy. He is going to make a team with his defense and shot-blocking ability and the rest is gravy. Seeing his workout, he is focusing heavily on his offensive game and a jump shot. I believe the team that gets Bell, is getting a top 5 defender in the draft and the potential to be the #1 steal of the draft. My player comparison is Thomas Robinson or Javale McGee with a better shot.

 

  • TJ Leaf (23)

 

      1. I am not a huge fan of Leaf and Anigbogu. Both players benefitted from Ball running the show at UCLA. Leaf has a lot of skill, but I have questions about his defense and length. I’m not sure he can play the 3 or the 4, so he is in a tough spot for an adjustment to the NBA. If he can play either position consistently, then he would rise, but I’m not convinced he can. My player comparison is Channing Frye.

 

  • Tony Bradley (24)

 

      1. Bradley has A TON of potential. In limited minutes at UNC, he showed flashes of greatness. My only concern is his lack of foot speed in the lane. He needs to improve his agility and speed to become a force to be reckoned with down low. He needs to go to the right team, but if he does, he could start for many years on a team. My player comparison is Andrew Bynum or Rudy Gobert.

 

  • Ike Anigbogu (25)

 

      1. I am not as high on Ike as others. I think he benefitted greatly off of Lonzo running point, and if he wasn’t there, I don’t think Ike would be a conversation until the end of the 1st round if not 2nd. With that being said, he has a 7’6” wingspan so his potential is high purely based on his body. He can rebound very well, just offensively, I am very hesitant. My player comparison is Bismack Biyombo.

 

  • Anzejs Pasecniks (26)

 

      1. I think he is the most NBA-ready international player after Ntilinka. He just needs to get stronger and bigger, but his workout at his pro day in LA, had him shooting up draft boards. I’m not sure if he will pan out to be another Kristaps Porzingis, but he can shoot the ball from anywhere and is crazy long. My player comparison is Donatas Motiejunas.

 

  • Isaiah Hartenstein (27)

 

      1. The perfect draft-and-stash project. He has the size and skills to play but needs some time to really refine those skills. If Hartenstein develops a jumper, he could be a dominant player in a year or two. I like him more than Pasecniks long-term, but Hartenstein isn’t as NBA-ready yet. My player comparison is Nikola Jokic.

 

  • Semi Ojeleye (28)

 

      1. Ojeleye, a transfer from Duke, really impressed scouts this season. He showed his ability to stretch the floor averaging 18.2 points per game. He could even shrink down to the three if a team wants to go with a tall lineup. Ojeleye’s success in the league varies on the team that takes him. If he finds the right team, he could be a sixth or seventh man and instantly provide scoring. My player comparison is Draymond Green.

 

  • Ivan Rabb (29)

 

      1. Rabb is all over the place on teams boards. Last year, he was a projected lottery pick and scouts hoped he would refine his game and be a top pick. Throughout the season he was very underwhelming which has led him to fall to a borderline 1st-2nd rounder. I still like his skill set due to his 7’2” wingspan and how fluid he moves offensively. He is 6’10” and needs to bulk up as he weighs only 220 lbs.  I’m higher on his game, but consistency is going to be huge for him. My player comparison is Chris Bosh.

 

  • Caleb Swanigan (30)

 

    1. Swanigan was a monster last year for Purdue. I like his game a lot, I just worry about his transition to the NBA. I think he will be a small-ball 5, similar to Draymond’s role in Golden State. In order for that to happen, he needs to be put in the right organization and get a lot quicker. The team he is drafted by will have a major impact on how his career plays put. He can shoot the ball already which helps him, his body though is the number one concern for teams. He is too short to play the 5 and is too slow to play the 4. My player comparison is a much shorter KG or Draymond Green.

NBA Mock Draft– Post Celtics/76ers Trade

2017 NBA Mock Draft

Jason Gandhi

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (from Kings)- Markelle Fultz
  2. Los Angeles Lakers- Lonzo Ball
  3. Boston Celtics (from Nets)- Jayson Tatum
  4. Phoenix Suns- Josh Jackson
  5. Sacramento Kings (from 76ers)- De’Aaron Fox
  6. Orlando Magic- Jonathan Isaac
  7. Minnesota Timberwolves- Lauri Markkanen
  8. New York Knicks- Frank Ntilinka (nee-lah-kina)
  9. Dallas Mavericks- Dennis Smith Jr
  10. Sacramento Kings (from Pelicans)- Malik Monk
  11. Charlotte Hornets- Luke Kennard
  12. Detroit Pistons- Donovan Mitchell
  13. Denver Nuggets- Zach Collins
  14. Miami Heat- Justin Jackson
  15. Portland Trail Blazers- Harry Giles
  16. Chicago Bulls- OG Anunoby
  17. Milwaukee Bucks- Jarrett Allen
  18. Indiana Pacers- John Collins
  19. Atlanta Hawks- Justin Patton
  20. Portland Trail Blazers (from Grizzlies)- TJ Leaf
  21. Oklahoma City Thunder- Terrance Ferguson
  22. Brooklyn Nets (from Wizards)- Ike Anigbogu
  23. Toronto Raptors (from Clippers)- Isaiah Hartenstein
  24. Utah Jazz- Andzejs Pasecniks
  25. Orlando Magic (from Raptors)- Tyler Lydon
  26. Portland Trail Blazers (from Cavaliers)- Rodions Kurucs
  27. Brooklyn Nets (from Celtics)- DJ Wilson
  28. L.A. Lakers (from Rockets)- Bam Adebayo
  29. San Antonio Spurs- Semi Ojeleye
  30. Utah Jazz (from Warriors)- Derrick White

NBA Mock Draft

6 days away from the NBA Draft! Our latest NBA Mock Draft is here with all the guys putting one out today. We will put one more out on Wednesday hopefully! Enjoy!

Check out our podcast for analysis over every pick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDueMwRK7vs

NBA Team: 6/16/17 Jason Gandhi: Dan Magers: Dylan Stagge: Zach Munson: Michael Bailey:
1.     Boston Celtics Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz Markelle Fultz
2.     Los Angeles Lakers Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Lonzo Ball Josh Jackson
3.     Philadelphia 76ers Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Josh Jackson Lonzo Ball
4.     Phoenix Suns Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum Jayson Tatum Jonathan Isaac
5.     Sacramento Kings De’Aaron Fox De’Aaron Fox De’Aaron Fox De’Aaron Fox De’Aaron Fox
6.     Orlando Magic Jonathan Isaac Jonathan Isaac Jonathan Isaac Malik Monk Jayson Tatum
7.     Minnesota Timberwolves Lauri Markkanen Lauri Markkanen Lauri Markkanen Jonathan Isaac Malik Monk
8.     New York Knicks Malik Monk Malik Monk Dennis Smith Jr. Dennis Smith Jr. Frank Ntilikina
9.     Dallas Mavericks Frank Ntilikina Frank Ntilikina Frank Ntilikina Frank Ntilikina Dennis Smith Jr.
10.  Sacramento Kings Luke Kennard Zach Collins Malik Monk Lauri Markkanen Zach Collins
11.  Charlotte Hornets Dennis Smith Jr. Luke Kennard Zach Collins Zach Collins Donovan Mitchell
12.  Detroit Pistons Donovan Mitchell Donovan Mitchell Donovan Mitchell Donovan Mitchell Luke Kennard
13.  Denver Nuggets Zach Collins Dennis Smith Jr. OG Anunoby OG Anunoby Justin Patton
14.  Miami Heat Justin Jackson OG Anunoby Harry Giles Luke Kennard Harry Giles
15.  Portland Trailblazers OG Anunoby Justin Jackson John Collins Justin Jackson Lauri Markkanen
16.  Chicago Bulls Harry Giles Jarrett Allen Luke Kennard Jarrett Allen Jarrett Allen
17.  Milwaukee Bucks Jarrett Allen Justin Patton Jarrett Allen Justin Patton Justin Jackson
18.  Indiana Pacers Terrance Ferguson TJ Leaf Justin Jackson TJ Leaf OG Anunoby
19.  Atlanta Hawks TJ Leaf John Collins Justin Patton John Collins John Collins
20.  Portland Trail Blazers Bam Adebayo Harry Giles Bam Adebayo Harry Giles Terrance Ferguson
21.  Oklahoma City Thunder John Collins Ike Anigbogu TJ Leaf Ike Anigbogu Jawun Evans
22.  Brooklyn Nets Justin Patton Terrance Ferguson Ike Anigbogu Terrance Ferguson Bam Adebayo
23.  Toronto Raptors Ike Anigbogu Tyler Lydon Tyler Lydon Tyler Lydon Tyler Lydon
24.  Utah Jazz Isaiah Hartenstein Andzejs Pasecniks Semi Ojeleye Semi Ojeleye Ike Anigbogu
25.  Orlando Magic Jordan Bell Bam Adebayo Frank Jackson Bam Adebayo TJ Leaf
26.  Portland Trail Blazers Andzejs Pasecniks Isaiah Hartenstein Andzejs Pasecniks Isaiah Hartenstein Semi Ojeleye
27.  Brooklyn Nets Tony Bradley Ivan Rabb Terrance Ferguson DJ Wilson Isaiah Hartenstein
28.  Los Angeles Lakers Tyler Lydon DJ Wilson Ivan Rabb Jordan Bell Jordan Bell
29.  San Antonio Spurs Ivan Rabb Caleb Swanigan Isaiah Hartenstein Andzejs Pasecniks Ivan Rabb
30.  Utah Jazz Derrick White Derrick White Derrick White Derrick White Derrick White

 

Magic and Bird: The Rebirth of Basketball

By: Jason Gandhi

 

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics have a well-known rivalry in professional basketball. It stemmed from the early 1960’s up until today still with the two teams squaring off every year. The reason the Lakers—Celtics rivalry has remained consistent throughout history is largely because of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. The rivalry of Magic vs. Bird went from 1979-1992 in basketball but it stemmed much further than just on the court. “Bird and Magic would meet face-to-face in a celebrated NCAA title showdown that contributed as much as anything to making college tournament play finally a primetime “made-for-television” event”.[1] Converse came out with a commercial in 1986 pushing consumers to either purchase the “Magic shoe” or the “Bird shoe”[2]. There was also a Broadway show on them called “Magic/Bird” directed by Eric Simonson[3]. This seems to suggest that the men were not only basketball icons but also made an impact on pop culture. Basketball was on the decline at the turn from the 1970’s to the 1980’s. Ratings were down and people were just not interested in NBA basketball like they used to be. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird changed that, and revived basketball to where it is today. Without Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird, the NBA might not be around today. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird not only effected the game itself, but they brought basketball’s popularity to a whole new level.

 

NBA Basketball was on the decline in the 1970’s. “Attendance had already been dropping, as had television ratings. CBS routinely tape-delayed its games, even playoff games, which meant most markets saw these games on TV after midnight. The NBA was in a significant down period.”[4] In the 1960’s, it was mainly Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain, but in the 1970’s the skill level was more balanced. None of the fourteen teams in the league were that much better than the next[5]. The NBA used to have a TV deal with ABC but at the end of the contract ABC declined to renew it[6]. CBS purchased the rights to show the NBA, but they could not market the product as well as ABC did[7]. Because there were no teams that were exponentially better than the next, fans did not have the desire to watch subpar basketball. It was hard for fans to rally behind the league, when they weren’t producing high-level basketball. The 1979 NCAA national championship between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird still has the highest TV shares, which is the estimated amount of televisions tuned in, to this day.[8] The correlation between the growth in popularity and the rise of Magic and Bird cannot be denied.

 

So, the NBA was at a low point in its popularity as stated previously. When Magic Johnson and Larry Bird burst onto the scene, they helped the ratings and the popularity go up. Magic said after his playing days were over, “Everybody knew that one of the main reasons for the dramatic increase in salaries was the presence of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.[9]” When the men got drafted into the NBA in 1979, the arenas were more empty than full, TV ratings were lowering and “the average player made less than $150,000.[10]” This evidence shows that before they burst onto the scene, NBA basketball was on life support. The two men had to try and revive the brand of professional basketball. Then once Magic Johnson and Larry Bird established themselves as the future in the NBA, things began to improve. By 1984, “Attendance had soared. TV ratings were way up-–especially during the 1984 Finals. The average salary was now well over half a million dollars.[11]”. This all demonstrates the clear correlation between the rise of popularity and the two men. Magic had his “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers, and Larry had his grind-it-out Boston Celtics. Yet every time the two teams squared off, everybody had to watch because Magic Johnson and Larry Bird made basketball fun again. The two teams met three times in the NBA Finals always on national television, as well as numerous times in the regular season. The uniqueness of an individual rivalry that repeats itself year after year because of team success, but also the men being friends off the court was something fans had never seen before. The Los Angeles Lakers or Boston Celtics won eight of the ten championships in the 1980’s[12], so Magic got the upper hand on Larry in the team rivalry.

Some could argue that the rise of the NBA would have happened with or without Magic and Larry. David Stern, former commissioner of the NBA, believed it to be “more of saving the NBA than Bird and Magic”[13]. They believe it could not have gone any lower so the rise was inevitable. This claim cannot be true because of the evidence that the TV contracts rose from $500,000 in 1969, to over 1 million dollars just under 12 years later[14]. Their national championship game began the rise and their success in the NBA, just took it to the next level. The summer after the Laker beat the Celtics in the Finals, “the NBA signed a three-year, $1.5-million-dollar deal with the USA Network for Thursday night doubleheaders and early round playoff games”[15]. This all demonstrates the men had a clear impact on the growth and popularity. Others could say that Magic and Larry are the only reason that the NBA grew in popularity. That is also not accurate, because players such as Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal and other polarizing figures could have also boosted the popularity. In 2017, the NBA regular season attendance record was broken again for the third straight year[16]. So although they did impact the popularity, they were not the sole factor.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson are now in the front office of NBA teams, sprinkling their magic on the NBA even without playing. They are a reason that the NBA is growing as one of the most popular professional sports in the United States today.

 

 

 

Works Cited:

 

[1] Peter C. Bjarkman, The Biographical History of Basketball (Chicago, Illinois: NTC/Contemporary Publishing group, 2000) pages 48, 49

[2] Josh Mapes, “Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s Rivalry,” Bio, last modified April 12, 2012, http://www.biography.com/news/magic-johnson-and-larry-birds-rivalry-20795891

[3] Josh Mapes, “Magic Johnson and Larry Bird’s Rivalry,” Bio, last modified April 12, 2012, http://www.biography.com/news/magic-johnson-and-larry-birds-rivalry-20795891

[4] “Magic, Larry and Cable Television:” Basketball Origins, Growth and History of the Game, accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/basketballhistory.html.

[5] “A Decade of Parity” NBA Encyclopedia Playoff Edition, accessed October 26, 2016, http://www.nba.com/encyclopedia/decade_of_parity.html

[6] “Magic, Larry and Cable Television:” Basketball Origins, Growth and History of the Game, accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/basketballhistory.html.

[7] “Magic, Larry and Cable Television:” Basketball Origins, Growth and History of the Game, accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/basketballhistory.html.

[8] Peter C. Bjarkman, The Biographical History of Basketball (Chicago, Illinois: NTC/Contemporary Publishing group, 2000) pages 48, 49

[9] Earvin “Magic” Johnson and William Novak, My Life (New York: Random House, 1992) pg. 204

[10] Earvin “Magic” Johnson and William Novak, My Life (New York: Random House, 1992) pg. 204

[11] Earvin “Magic” Johnson and William Novak, My Life (New York: Random House, 1992) pg. 204

[12] “Magic, Larry and Cable Television:” Basketball Origins, Growth and History of the Game, accessed October 24, 2016, http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/basketballhistory.html.

[13] Bill Simmons, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy (New York: ESPN Books, 2009) page 138

[14] Peter C. Bjarkman, The Biographical History of Basketball (Chicago, Illinois: NTC/Contemporary Publishing group, 2000)

[15] Bill Simmons, The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy (New York: ESPN Books, 2009) page 139

[16] “NBA Breaks Attendance Record for Third Straight Season.” NBA.com. April 13, 2017, http://www.nba.com/article/2017/04/13/nba-breaks-all-time-attendance-record-third-straight-season