NBA TV aired the first of a two-part interview with recently-named NBA Executive of the Year and Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird tonight, May 18, during NBA TV’s GameTime. NBA TV’s John Thompson conducted an extensive sit-down conversation with Bird, a Hall of Famer who has also won league MVP honors as a player, Coach of the Year and now this latest accomplishment. The Pacers currently lead the Miami Heat 2-1 in the best-of-seven second round series.
Part two of the interview with Larry Bird will air Sunday, May 20, at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Highlights from the interview include:
Bird on being the only person in NBA history to be named MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year. “I will always be the player. That is always what I wanted to do. It is mind-boggling for me to come from a small town and do some of things that I have done, I’m really appreciative of that. My high school coach told me years ago you surround yourself with good people, good things will happen and I’ve been able to do that.”
Bird on the most awkward adjustment from being Larry Bird the great player to Larry Bird the great executive: “As a player I had the ball in my hands. I don’t have the ball in my hands here, but I’m trying to find players that want the ball in their hands like I did and make the right decisions. A lot of times I say don’t feel sorry for your players but I like them so much and I know they are trying hard. I feel just as bad as they do when they lose. But I also know they have limitations. Some of these guys work so hard and some games just don’t go well for them. But I know the next day they will be in there trying to get better.”
Bird on his philosophy on compiling a team: “I like the guys that have been in school for a few years. I think it is an easier adjustment and they also have to have talent. They come in this league with more maturity and you are able to work with them. If a kid comes out after four years like Roy Hibbert or Tyler Hansbrough and had great coaching they are a lot easier to deal with on and off the court and they pick up things quicker.”
Bird on developing a championship team: “In this league if you have three guys on your team and, on any given night, one of them can get you thirty points you are a pretty good team. We are not there yet but I think in the near future we will have three guys.”
Bird on continuing to lead the Pacers organization: My goal was to get them in the right direction. To sit here and tell you I’ll be back next year I really don’t know. It is just going to be a decision on if I want to do it or not.”
Bird on how he wants the game to remember him: “I hope they look at me as a basketball player first. I got all my thrills out of competing. I think I left the game better than what I found it and I made some good friendships along the way.”
Bird on his role as president of basketball operations: “In this role I can honestly say every decision that was made, [even when we did bad] I’ve made. Yeah I got scouts and a GM but they just give me information. When it comes down to it, I have to make the decisions. If I’m going to go down, I’m going to take myself down with my decisions and not anyone else’s.”
To view the interview in its entirety, click the text: Larry Bird interview.
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