Larry Bird Announces Resignation, Indiana Pacers Hand Job To Donnie Walsh

Larry Bird is one of the most respected basketball players in NBA history and a fan favorite in Indiana but now the 55-year-old club President is calling it quits, ending his time as Indiana Pacers president at the end of August. Bird officially announced his retirement from the team on Monday, citing “health issues” as the reason for his departure.

Bird spent the last four years turning the Indiana Pacers into an Eastern Conference contender and this year he was named the NBA executive of the year.

In announcing his departure Larry Bird say he needed shoulder surgery and was having problems with his back. At a team press conference on Wednesday afternoon he added in no uncertain terms:

“I just think it’s time.”

Larry Bird says his decision wasn’t based on the tight-money controls demanded by owner Herb Simon. According to Bird:

“(Simon) knows to get to the next level we’re going to spend some money. Every time I went to Herb about a player or about money to spend, he questioned it. And he should. At the end of the day, he always said go ahead and do what you have to do to make this team better. That’s the support you need. … We’re going to spend money.”

It’s not to say Larry Bird won’t return to the NBA where he played for more than a decade and then coached the Indiana Pacers from 1997-2000. Bird says he’ll take one year off and then reevaluate his situation. Given his ability to lead a cash strapped team there is always the chance a bigger organization could offer him the same position he held with Indiana or perhaps a general manager role.

Bird had replaced Donnie Walsh who left for the New York Knicks and is now returning to his former Indiana Pacers position once again.

Just one month ago Larry Bird voiced his desire to stay on as the teams President and said he would be interested in a three-year contract instead of a “handshake” agreement as he already had in place with Simon.

Larry Bird leaves after he took a losing franchise that was among one of the biggest jokes in the league and brought them to this years second-round in the NBA Playoffs. In what might be his most impressive feat, Bird turned a team of troublemakers into a respectable franchise after trading away anyone with a bad reputation, essentially proving that you can build a team around mutual respect for the game and life in general.