I put in a DVD the other day and watched that 1979 NCAA championship game — Michigan State vs. Indiana State, Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird, still one of the most-watched games ever, college or pro.
I knew how it would turn out. Michigan State, stronger and deeper than the Sycamores, would go ahead early, then hold off a second-half challenge to win by 11. But at the opening jump I could still feel the charge so many people felt that day. There they were, those two sublime athletes, long-haired boys again on the screen, slender in the old short trunks, yet commanding. They were why so many watched.