30 YEARS OF MEMORIES

     Where has the time gone?  It's been 30 years since MSU won the NCAA basketball title in 1979 in Salt Lake City.  If you think there's basketball excitement around here now, you should have seen it then.  The nights in Jenison Fieldhouse were something to behold.  Sunday that team will be honored at halftime of the MSU vs. Wisconsin game.  It's been a magical 30-year run for the most part since only equipment manager Ed Belloli has passed away from the official team family.  Only two players will be missing this weekend, Greg Lloyd and Rob Gonzalez, neither of whom could make it back to East Lansing.

     The team was coached by Jud Heathcote and he flew in from his home in Spokane, Washington.  The team will assemble for a dinner given by super star Earvin "Magic" Johnson on Saturday night.  There is a brunch before the game Sunday and then the team will assemble at Tom and Lupe Izzo's house Sunday night.

     The 1979 MSU team went everywhere together and did most everything together.  "Earvin never bigtimed us," guard Mike Brkovich recalls.  "He treated every one the same."  The '79 Spartans went to the movies together, ate together, etc.  Not all of them played in the games-- Jud used essentially a seven man lineup in the tournament-- but they were all close nonetheless.

     And to this day the '79 title game against Indiana State is still the most heavily viewed NCAA basketball final game ever televised.  Hard to believe Earvin is 49 and will turn 50 in August, but the images we see 30 years later of them on the highlight reels never seem to fade from those of us who lived not only that season, but the terrific year in 1978 as well.

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  • by Kevin Location: Lansing on Mar 1, 2009 at 01:25 AM
    Tim as I have mentioned to you before,I was at most every road game in that great run in 1979.I was at all tourney games and at the far west classic in Portland,Oregon.That which we beat a very good Indiana team.It was a great experience which I will never forget.I remember the card games we played all over the US. T.D. wasnt a very good poker player.
  • by Christy Location: Elsie on Feb 25, 2009 at 08:25 PM
    I remember this time in East Lansing well! I was a student at the then John A Hannah Middle School in E.L. Christine Johnson, Magics's mom was a custodian at our school...what a dear nice lady! So our school followed the team weekly. After they won the Championship Mrs Johnson had the whole team come to the school! I still have my Championship t-shirt with all of the signatures. What a great time and great memories!
  • by Doug Location: Jackson on Feb 22, 2009 at 09:05 AM
    Tim, where did Earl go? I haven't seen him on your show since he wore that awful lime green suit.:-) By the way, I still remember seeing you ervey so often at the Boom Boom room in Frandor after your evening broadcast. We were usually working our way through a few of their Zombies!
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