On Friday it was announced that Larry Bird has resigned as President of the Indiana Pacers after spending 20 years with the organization. Bird served three years as the Pacers’ head coach before becoming President of the organization in 2003, and was ultimately awarded NBA Executive of the Year in 2012. Rumors that Bird is stepping down due to a health issue have been denied.
Bird is a basketball legend dating back to his time spent with the Boston Celtics where he played a total of 13 NBA seasons from 1979-1992. Bird’s rookie season happened to coincide with the year the 3-point line was added to the NBA. He brought in an impressive 40.6% from distance that season taking home the coveted Rookie of the Year award. He has been named league MVP a total of three times, and Finals MVP twice. He played as an NBA All-Star 12 times, and took home three NBA Championships.
In his three years as a head coach, Bird took the Pacers to the Eastern Conference Finals twice, and the Finals once, but was unable to get the team past the Eastern Conference Finals as President of the organization. After two consecutive seasons of losing in the first round of the playoffs, Bird has decided to move on, but will remain on as a consultant for the team.
Bird has been working diligently to sign forward Paul George to a contract extension as he’s expected to opt out of his contract at the end of the 2017-2018 season. Personally, I have my questions about George. He’s been playing in the league for six years now bringing in an impressive 23.7 points and 6.6 rebound per game. His first three seasons he made it to the Eastern Conference Finals with his team twice, but since then the Pacers have either not made the playoffs at all, or they’ve been eliminated in the first round.
George was quoted earlier this year saying,
“I always want to play on a winning team. It’s frustrating just playing the game for stats, or for numbers, or to showcase yourself. Man, I want a chance to play for…a championship.”
Well, As John Wooden says, “A player who makes a team great, is better than a great player.” I’m convinced that Paul George is a great player, but I remain skeptical that he has any ability to make a team great–the proof is in the pudding. Bird, on the other hand, seemed to create magic everywhere he went.Perhaps if he would have remained on as head coach a little longer he would have been able to lead the Pacers to a championship.
It’s sad to see Bird making his exit from the league after making such a huge impact for so many years. He is arguably one of the greatest basketball players to ever play the game. Best of luck to you in the future Larry Legend!