Every once in a while, I go back and watch some of Larry Bird's games. I never fail to be amazed at how good he was as a player. He made some of the most amazing passes. He could shoot from anywhere on the court. There could be 5 opposing players under the basket and somehow, Bird would come away with the rebound. As a player, there is no doubt in my mind that Larry Bird was one of the very best players in the history of the NBA.
Bird was not only a great player, but he had a very good basketball mind. On the court, Bird was always thinking a play ahead and that is one of the things that made him so very good as a player. I always thought that he would go into the Celtics front office and stay a Celtic for his entire career in basketball. He started off with the Celtics and worked as a special assistant in the team's front office from 1992 until 1997. When the team hired Rick Pitino, against Bird's recommendations and wishes, it was enough for Larry to walk away from the only professional basketball team he had been affiliated with.
It wasn't the hiring of Pitino that bothered Larry the most, but how it was done. When Pitino came in, his worst act was to strip Red Auerbach of the title of president of the Celtics and take that title himself. Other than being a complete megalomaniac, why would Pitino treat the most successful coach and GM in NBA history, who was at the time 80 years old so shabbily? Red could have been a resource for Pitino and one that few coaches would ever think of passing up but Pitino kicked him to the curb because of his ego. Bird just couldn't be a part of that and so left the Celtics to become coach of the Indiana Pacers in his home state.
Bird resigned as coach of the Pacers after just 3 very successful seasons and in 2003, he became the Pacers' President of Basketball Operations, overseeing team personnel and coaching moves, as well as the team's draft selections. As president, he was named the Executive of the Year for the 2011–2012 season. The Pacers team that took the defending Champion Heat to 7 games in the Eastern Conference Finals was put together by Larry Bird and they are only going to get better as their young players gain experience.
I always wanted Larry to return to Boston, but that ship sailed when Pitino ruined everything else in the franchise. Word is that Larry is at the top of the Sacramento Kings' list to become their team president. According to Peter Vescey, landing Larry will not be cheap, however.
Kings owner meeting with Larry Bird today means decision on hiringpresident is on hold. Source says asking 5M per, maybe piece of team
— Peter Vecsey (@PeterVecsey1) June 5, 2013
Larry has proved that he can do the job. He built that Pacers team from the ground up and they gained respectability under his leadership. The Kings franchise has been a laughing stock and one of the doormats of the league for too long and the new leadership want to find someone who can turn the franchise around. They couldn't find a better man to do so than Larry Bird. They call him Larry Legend for a reason. He's a legend as a player and when all is said and done, I expect that legend to extend to his front office exploits as well.
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