Originally Posted by jlip
The Magic over Bird sentiments began to take root before Magic retired. It is indeed true that Bird was considered better over the first half of their respective careers, but the '87 Finals combined with Bird's injuries and Magic's continued success caused people's opinions to shift. So this is not a case of getting overrated "since" retirement.
There was GOAT talk for Magic while he was playing, which I've posted on here before. So either they weren't following basketball at the time, weren't following what was going on past their favorite player/team, or they don't remember it.