The 1984 NBA Finals between the Celtics and the Lakers was an action-packed thriller, going down to the wire. However, Larry Bird believed David Stern misused his powers and rigged Game 6 to help Magic Johnson force a seventh game.
The 1983-1984 NBA season was a pretty interesting and eventful one. Larry Bird finished the regular season with 24.2 points, 10.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists on 49% shooting from the field, winning his 1st out of 3 MVP awards while leading the Celtics to a league-best 62-20 record.
Meanwhile, a Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar-led Los Angeles Lakers too were looking to be deadly, finishing first in the Western Conference with a great 54-28 record.
As expected, both the powerhouses dominated their respective conferences in the postseason and managed to meet at the 1984 NBA Finals. The matchup was as entertaining and action-packed as it could be, giving fans all over the world their money’s worth.
After trailing 1-0 to Johnson and co. the Celtics managed to mount a pretty decent comeback leading the series 3-2, with the championship only one win away. However, Game 6 of that much-anticipated matchup saw LAL grabbing a huge 119-108 win, but was as controversial as a game could get.
Larry Bird accused David Stern of rigging Game 6 of the 1984 Finals to make more money pushing the series to a Game 7
Game 6 of the series was visibly manipulated. A huge majority of the referee’s calls were favouring the Lakers. And according to Hall-Of-Famer Larry Bird, then-commissioner David Stern abused his power by rigging the game helping LAL win and hoping to make the league more money by pushing the nail-biting series to a seventh game.
An old snap of a newspaper report suggests that Bird had indeed made such huge accusations against David. According to the news report, Bird said:
“Stern told a fan that the NBA needed a seven-game series, that the league needed the money. When the commissioner makes a statement like that to a fan, you know it’s going to be tough.”
“When Stern makes a statement like that, things are going to happen… You Just don’t make statements like that and expect anything out of it. He’s the commissioner and he shouldn’t be saying anything like that.”
“The NBA wanted a seventh game because they wanted to make more money and they got their wish.”
As you may have guessed, Stern rejected to comment on the Celtics legend’s accusation, making the entire fiasco even fishier.
Despite forcing a game 7, Boston absolutely dominated the Lakers winning the contest 111-102. And ended up winning their 2nd championship in a 4-year span. And it was Larry Bird who was awarded the Finals MVP trophy for his sensational 27.4 points, 14 rebounds and 3.6 assists averages during the series.