NBA legend Larry Bird said about a year ago he intended to pursue interests outside of basketball, and apparently, that’s exactly what he’s done.
After stepping down from his position as Pacers president of basketball operations in 2017, Bird held an active advisory role with the team. But that is no longer the case.
Still, Pritchard and coach Rick Carlisle know where to turn if they feel the need. Both have worked with Bird extensively with the Pacers — and both are former teammates of Bird’s with the Celtics (Pritchard in Bird’s final season as a player).
“Larry is a good friend of mine and he’s a good friend of Rick’s,” Pritchard said. “At any time we need help, we know where to look. He’s always available.”
Following a Hall-of-Fame playing career with the Celtics, Bird went on to coach the Pacers for three seasons. He then moved into the front office, becoming president of basketball operations in 2003, keeping the job until he decided to step down in ’17. He did miss one year, 2012-13, because of health reasons.
As Agness noted, Bird was a regular at the pre-draft workouts and played a role in the hiring of Carlisle prior to the start of last season. This year, though, Bird was absent during draft prospect evaluations.
The reasons for that are now clear.