ADVISOR TO PRESIDENT OF BASKETBALL OPERATIONS
After two different runs as President of Basketball Operations, Larry Bird in May, 2017, decided to step down and step back.
“I felt it was time to step away in a full-time capacity,” said Bird. “This has nothing to do with my health or our team. I’m 60 years
old and I want to do other things away from basketball. I will do some scouting for the Pacers, NBA, college, international, do some
appearances and stay in a capacity to advise senior basketball management. I love the Pacers, I grew up with the Pacers and
admired them from a very young age. I want to thank the fans for their support throughout my career. I also want to thank (owner)
Herb Simon for the many years of loyalty and for allowing me to stay with the team in a different role.”
Added Simon, “This is not a shock to me as Larry has always been up front about someday stepping down,” said Simon. “I thank him
for all that he has done and am very pleased he is remaining with the Pacers in a different capacity.”
So Bird stays on with the Pacers as an advisor, away from the NBA limelight he has been in as a player with the Boston Celtics, a
coach with the Pacers and then a front office executive with the Pacers. In his two runs at the top of the front office, the Pacers
reached the Eastern Conference Finals three times and reached the playoffs nine times in 12 years.
Achieving success in the NBA has been Bird’s history. He is the recipient of one of the more unique trifectas in sports and the only
one to do it in the NBA: league MVP (with Boston in 1983, ’84 and ‘85), Coach of the Year (1998 with the Pacers) and Executive of the
Year (2012 with the Pacers).
Throughout his career, as a player and in subsequent roles, winning has gone hand-in-hand with Bird. The Hoosier basketball
legend (he was born in West Baden, Ind., 12/7/1956) was an Indiana All-Star after playing at Springs Valley High School. He played
collegiately at Indiana State and in his senior year, led the Sycamores to an undefeated season and the NCAA championship game
before losing to Magic Johnson and Michigan State. That season, Bird was the College Player of the Year. His storied success led to
him being named one of Indiana’s 50 Greatest Basketball Players in 1999.
Then, in 13 seasons as a professional with Boston, he was named the NBA’s 1980 Rookie of the Year; was a 12-time NBA All-Star;
three-time NBA MVP; helped lead the Celtics to three world championships, winning two NBA Finals MVP awards; won an Olympic
gold medal in 1992 as part of the United States’ “Dream Team”; was named one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest Players in 1996; and was
inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998. In 2011, Bird entered the Hall of Fame again as the 1992 “Dream Team”
After his playing career, Bird’s next challenge was coaching and he succeeded at that as well. In three seasons with the Pacers, he
led them to a 147-67 record, winning Coach of the Year honors in 1998 and leading the team to its first-ever NBA Finals appearance
in 2000. The Pacers reached the Conference Finals in all three of his seasons, winning two Central Division championships and in
1998, Bird earned Eastern Conference All-Star coaching honors. He returned to the franchise July 11, 2003, as President of Basketball
Operations, assisting Walsh, who left in 2008 for the New York Knicks in a similar role.
From the day he stepped into the front office, Bird seemed to have an impact. Together with Donnie Walsh, they put together a team
that had a milestone season in 2003-04. They set franchise records for victories (61), winning percentage (.744), road victories in
their NBA history (27) and won the Central Division Championship. They also reached the Eastern Conference Finals before bowing
to eventual World Champion Detroit, four games to two. In 2004-05, the Pacers returned to the playoffs and reached the Eastern
Conference Semifinals. They had a 44-38 record despite a season where they lost players for 309 games due to injury or illness and
another 126 due to suspension.
Then in 2005-06, the Pacers finished with a 41-41 record, despite having 236 games lost due to injury. Still, they made the playoffs
In his first year as coach, he took over a veteran team that had missed the playoffs the previous season. For the third time in
the previous five seasons, the Pacers reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, this time extending the World Champion
Chicago Bulls. Coming into the playoffs, the Pacers not only made the NBA pay attention, they made franchise history at the time.
They had 58 victories, the most since joining the NBA in 1976; their .707 winning percentage was the best in the Pacers’ history,
including their storied ABA days; they were 26-15 on the road, a franchise NBA best, and had the best road record of any Eastern
Conference team. The Pacers amazingly didn’t lose two straight games in the regular season after Dec. 10, and through the All-Star
break, the Pacers had the best record in the East, thus earning Bird All-Star coaching honors.
The next season, the Pacers won the Central Division and reached the Eastern Conference Finals. In 2000, there was another Central
Division championship and the trip to the NBA Finals.
Bird is married to Dinah. He has three children, Corrie, Connor and Mariah. He is an avid outdoorsman.
WE GROW BASKETBALL HERE INDIANA PACERS 2018-1 9 YEARBOOK