Tug Coker to play Larry Bird in Broadway show

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson square off in 1986 (Photo By: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson square off in 1986 (Photo By: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)

The Broadway-bound play based on the rivalry and personal relationship between Larry Bird and Magic Johnson has one of its leads cast. The New York Times reports that “Magic/Bird’’ producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo have chosen 6-foot-5 actor (and former college basketball player) Tug Coker to play the 6-foot-9 hick from French Lick, Larry Bird. Kirmser said Coker, 34, was chosen because “he (has) enormous acting ability and stage presence while also being someone who was immediately believable as a basketball player.’’ Coker played college ball as a freshman at the College of William and Mary before transferring to the University of Virginia, where eventually quit playing to pursue acting in student productions. His acting background? He’s appeared in regional theater and in small roles on “C.S.I.’’ and “Torchwood.’’ The script for “Magic/Bird,’’ written by playwright Eric Simonson, has been approved Bird and Magic. “Larry’s main request all along has been that the play be as authentic as possible, as true to his story and Magic’s story as possible,’’ Kirsmer told the Times.

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