As “Magic/Bird” Opens on Broadway, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s When The Game Was Ours Offers Definitive Chronicle of NBA Legends’ Rivalry

BOSTON -- “Magic/Bird,” the eagerly anticipated play about NBA legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Larry Bird, opens on Broadway on Wednesday, April 11, but those who can’t make it to the Longacre Theatre in New York can read the definitive account of their decades-long rivalry-cum-friendship in the New York Times-bestselling book When The Game Was Ours, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. To celebrate the opening of the play, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will be offering the e-book of When The Game Was Ours for $2.99 at all e-book retailers from April 11-17th. 

Currently in its tenth printing, the book recounts Johnson and Bird’s uncommonly competitive relationship beginning with the 1979 NCAA Championship and extending through the epic NBA battles of the 1980s. When The Game Was Ours transports readers to this electric era and reveals the inner workings of these two players dead set on besting each other.  Each pushed the other to greatness, and together Bird and Johnson collected eight NBA championships and six MVP awards, while helping to save a floundering NBA. At the start they were bitter rivals, but along the way they became lifelong friends.  “If ever there was a two-man Dream Team, they were it,” wrote the New York Times Book Review.

Susan Canavan, Executive Editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, says, “It's a select club, athletes whose accomplishments and impact on their game can inspire a full-length narrative book with widespread and enduring appeal. Larry and Magic's story, as told in their bestselling book, When The Game Was Ours, did just that. Now Larry and Magic join an even more select club of athletes whose stories inspire a Broadway play. It's not surprising. The dynamic of their decades-long rivalry and friendship, how each pushed the other to greatness, makes for enormously compelling reading and is sure to do the same on stage.” 

Nationally recognized sports columnist Jackie MacMullan, who wrote the book with Johnson and Bird, served as a consultant on the play.  "Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo have created an innovative vehicle to bring Magic and Bird to Broadway,” she says. “Their concept of using actual basketball footage on stage should keep true basketball fans thoroughly entertained.''

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Trade & Reference Division 
With nearly two-centuries of award-winning history, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Trade and Reference Division continues to publish some of the most renowned novels, non-fiction, children’s books and reference works, Mariner Books trade paperbacks and ebooks.  Its distinguished author list includes eight Nobel Prize winners, 47 Pulitzer Prize winners, 13 National Book Award winners, and more than 100 Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients. HMH publishes such distinguished authors as Philip Roth, Temple Grandin, Tim O'Brien, and Umberto Eco, as well as The Best American series®, The American Heritage® family of dictionaries, The Gourmet Cookbook and other culinary classics, the Peterson Field Guides and books by J.R.R. Tolkien.  Along with a celebrated lineup of children’s authors, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group is the publisher of some of the best-loved children's books and book characters including Curious George, The Little Prince and The Polar Express.  For more information, visit