After a coaching stint with the Pacers from 1997-2000, basketball legend Larry Bird took his talents to the desk, moving to a front-office role in 2003. It was there he remained for almost 15 years, helping to run one of the most respected franchises in the NBA.
It all ended for him in 2017, when he stepped down from his position with the team for, what was at the time, unknown reasons. ESPN has reported it was due to a refusal to spend by management but in a statement Bird recently put out, he confirmed that's not the case.
“A published report indicated that I left my position as President of Basketball Operations in 2017 because ownership was not willing to spend “big money” and that it frustrated me enough to step aside. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Larry Bird said.
“I want everyone to know I left there because it was time for me to move on from the Pacers. I had worked with Kevin Pritchard and at that time I felt Kevin was ready to take over and he has proven that. I can’t thank Herb and Mel Simon, along with Pacers Sports & Entertainment, for the opportunities to, at first, coach, and then later move into the front office.”
He was pretty quick to call out ESPN on their false report and was rather unapologetic about it.
It seems that he left because he was just ready to move on. He felt comfortable handing over his position and was confident in the direction of the franchise. Bird, now 63, has since been spending his time retired, living his best life with his wife Dinah.
As for the Pacers, it seems Larry saw them off in the right direction. Despite lacking a top-tier star, they remain surprisingly relevant in the East and have been a model of consistency for years.