Magic Johnson

Rivalries are competitive, historic and most importantly, fun. There is not much that gets a heart pumping like a rivalry game. Which makes this stain on the Michigan-Michigan State rivalry unfortunate.

That is the Magic Johnson statue outside of Michigan State's Breslin Student Events Center spray-painted in maize. That is one of the greatest basketball players and general human beings of all-time getting vandalized. In his two years in East Lansing, Johnson led the Spartans to their first of two NCAA titles.

Alvin Ellis, a junior guard for Michigan State, tweeted the photo Thursday.

Michigan fans, presumably the same individuals that vandalized the Johnson statue, took their maize and blue spray cans elsewhere on Michigan State's campus.

The No. 7 Spartans will meet the No. 12 Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on Saturday. ESPN College GameDay will be in Ann Arbor for a game that is sure to have implications for the Big Ten East title and possibly the college football playoff.

"There's a lot of great Michigan kids, and there's some idiots," says Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo, who was at Big Ten Basketball Media Day in Chicago on Thursday. "And there's some idiots on our side too that do some crazy things."

Perhaps Izzo is hinting that Michigan State students should not retaliate with vandalism, as many will travel to Ann Arbor this weekend.

For players, this stuff can be extra motivation.

"It's all fun and games," says Denzel Valentine, Michigan State's senior basketball captain. "It's just going to make it a little bit better when we beat them on Saturday."

Michigan State officials are attempting to scrape off the paint.

For the most part, Michigan State has owned the rivalry in recent times. On the hardwood, the Spartans lead the series 22-9 since February 1998. In football, Michigan State won six of the past seven.

The Paul Bunyan Trophy should be fought for with class in Ann Arbor.

Last week, Baylor's Robert Griffin III was vandalized too, allegedly by TCU fans.

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