Wednesday , Jun , 27 , 2012 Matt Formica

Is Larry Bird Done With the NBA for Good?

Is Larry Bird Done With the NBA for Good?

It was announced last night that longtime Celtics legend Larry Bird will resign as the Indiana Pacers’ president of basketball operations at the end of August.  Bird served the Pacers for the past four years.

Hoopsvibe’s Quick Call:  Larry Bird’s retirement comes as a surprise and makes his future with the NBA uncertain.

Bird cited health issues (with his shoulder and back) as the main reasons for his departure. 

Remember, Bird retired as a player in 1992 also because of chronic back problems.

Independent of his injury history, Bird’s decision to step down is a surprising one.  He was this season’s NBA executive of the year and was instrumental in building a team that was a legitimate Eastern Conference threat this season.  The Pacers knocked out the Magic in the first round of this year’s playoffs but lost in the second round to the eventual champion Miami Heat.  (Note:  At one point in the series against the Heat, the Pacers were ahead two games to one.)  It was the longest postseason run Indiana has had in seven seasons.

Bird coached the Pacers from 1997-2000 and led them to their only NBA Finals appearance (2000).  He returned to the organization to work in the front office in 2003, only to take over full control of basketball operations at the start of the 2007-08 season. 

Moreover, Bird is beloved in Indiana.  He was born there, raised there, and played college ball at Indiana State.  Hence, his position as head executive of the Pacers was always a great fit.

"I feel sad (with) the announcement that Larry’s going to be leaving us," said Pacers owner Herb Simon.  "Larry could have stayed here as long as he wants."  He continued, "We wish him the very best and hope that we can still be associated with him in the coming years."

But is Bird done with basketball for good??

We probably have to wait a year to find out; but being that he isn’t officially resigning until August, the 55-year old Bird will still very much be a part of trade strategy for next season as well as the upcoming 2012 NBA Draft, which is happening tomorrow night.  The Pacers have the 26th pick overall in the first round.

Donnie Walsh, former CEO of the Pacers and most recently President of Operations for the New York Knicks, will return to Indiana to replace Bird.

"I just think it’s time," Bird said.

Larry Bird is the only person in NBA history to be named the NBA’s Executive of the Year, Coach of the Year, and league’s Most Valuable Player.


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Image source:  AP Images