“You can’t get too close to Michael, or it’s a foul”

“You can’t get too close to Michael, or it’s a foul”

Magic’s three-point attempt blocked, Pippen comes away with it, and the Chicago Bulls have won their first-ever NBA championship.’

The final buzzer in Game 5 of the ’91 NBA Finals was the official end to the Showtime Lakers, and the foundation the Chicago Bulls dynasty of the ’90s was built upon. It was also the moment Magic Johnson passed the torch to Michael Jordan, showing immense respect to the series MVP, and the guy worthy of being the next face of the NBA.

If you’re going to lose, you’re going to lose to them, and I’m going to lose to Michael. That’s how it should be.

Magic Johnson, Sports Illustrated

The two shared an emotional moment after MJ won his first NBA championship. ‘When they beat us, we met in between both locker rooms, and he just put his arms [out] and just started crying,’ Magic said in ‘The Last Dance.’ ‘He was so happy that he had won, that he had busted through. That was a special moment for him and myself.’

Fast forward to ’92, the two are on the Dream Team together, being the faces of the group that was on a mission to restore glory to U.S. basketball. The hype around the team was something like we’ve never seen before, as the collection of 11 future Hall of Famers were set to electrify basketball on a global stage.

With MJ and Magic now on the same sides, they were both locked in on bringing home the gold medal. But having the same jersey on didn’t change the dynamic of their relationship. And so, before the tournament had even started, Michael and Magic shared another moment. But this one wasn’t about the emotions. It wasn’t even about respect. This was a straight-up banter, and it happened during their iconic photoshoot with Larry Bird.

It’s hard to say which one was more epic between Magic’s tease and Jordan’s response. Or perhaps the fact that Larry didn’t have anything to follow it up with. Whatever you side with, the fact is this was an iconic moment between two of the greatest players to ever lace ’em up, while painting the perfect picture of the relationship between the two.

When it was time to compete, hardly anyone did it better than MJ and Magic. When it was time to show respect and admiration for one another, they would never run away from it. But when it was time to trash talk and tease the other guy, no sparing was allowed, with none of it being demanded.