Amidst a tirade of questions concerning the future of the Indiana Pacers franchise, on Wednesday, Larry Bird officially stepped down as president of basketball operations. Seemingly out of the blue, Bird held a press conference at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, to announce his retirement from the organization.
Bird will be replaced as the president of the Pacers by former Indiana president and general manager, Donnie Walsh, who left the Indiana Pacers in ’08. Walsh, who has been working with the New York Knicks as a consultant for the last year, is still under contract in New York until the end of this month. Bird did express that he will remain on staff throughout Thursday night’s NBA Draft. Kevin Pritchard will take over as general manager of the Pacers. All three men took the podium on Wednesday, (with Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon) in what seemed to be a lighthearted and respectful press conference, to announce the changes to the team. Bird, Walsh, Pritchard, and Simon also spoke about the re-signing of key free agents and the possibility of bringing in new players to the team.
“I think change is good,” Bird stated Wednesday. “I thought it when I was coaching. I think this is the right decision for the franchise. It’s just time for me to move on.”
Bird mentioned health and weariness as several reasons for the choice to retire from the team. When asked if he would be interested in possibly buying the Pacers organization someday, he chuckled the question off. Bird leaves the Pacers as the only player in NBA history to win the NBA MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year.