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Larry Bird Leaves Behind A Legend

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Former coach and basketball legend, Larry Bird, has decided to resign as of May 1st, 2017. What sort of legacy does he leave behind and what can we learn from his coaching techniques?

Larry Bird, 60, stepped down last week as the Indiana Pacers president of basketball operations, a job he took over from Donnie Walsh when he left to get the Knicks back on track. Bird is the only man in NBA history to be the League’s Most Valuable Player, the Coach of the Year and the Executive of the Year. Larry Bird was the National Player of the Year, his senior season at Indiana State (1979). The following season, he was the NBA Rookie of the Year. Larry Bird was named the NBA Most Valuable Player on three occasions. He was named MVP of the NBA Finals twice and was an All-Star in 12 of his 13 seasons. Larry Bird led the Celtics to three Championships in the 1980’s.

larry bird

© Flickr user acidpix

I first saw Larry Bird play when he was a junior at Indiana State. I recognized how talented he was but I do not think anyone realized that he would go on to become one of the greatest players in NBA history. Larry Bird had incredible eye-hand coordination. Let’s remember that not only was he a great scorer, but he also was a good rebounder and an excellent passer. Bird was a team player, one who would dive for loose balls.

Larry Bird was the head coach of the Pacers for three years; they went to the League Finals once and the Conference Finals the other two seasons. During Bird’s time as President of the Pacers, they went to the Conference Finals on three occasions. Anyone in that position, will have his “hits and misses.” The last couple of seasons were especially challenging and Bird felt it was time to “move on.” For all of his successes, Larry Bird came close as a coach, but was unable to bring the Indiana Pacers a Championship as a coach or as an executive.

It was clear from the start, though, that Bird would only be there on a year-to-year basis. He made sure that owner, Herb Simon, knew that before he took the reins. Vigilant Sports wrote about the basketball legend and his decision to leave:

“I know last year after talking to Herb, I told him that this would be my last one, contract-wise, and the next day I brought Kevin and Peter Dinwiddie into my office and told them that this would be my last year, let’s do our best, let’s try to put the best team we possibly can together,” Bird explained. “There’s not a lot of people that knew it, at least four or five.”

Though he may be resigning, he will be staying on in an advisory role. So what does this mean for the team and their growth? How productive can Bird be as a part time adviser? Will he still gain respect and get things done that way or is it merely a title? Our very own Robby Slaughter posed a similar question and had this to say:

There may be more understanding at higher levels, but the question needs always be the same. What results are people actually producing, not what hours are they putting in. After all, who wouldn’t prefer to have two individuals sharing the work and meeting the deadlines, if the alternative is one person falling behind?

As long as your work and presence are having a positive impact, then it doesn’t really matter how many hours you put in. What matters is that the work you do is productive and valuable!

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Howard Kellman

Howard Kellman

Howard Kellman is the longtime radio and television “voice” of the Indianapolis Indians and a professional speaker. When he’s not broadcasting, he travels around the country inspiring audiences.
Howard Kellman

@howardkellman

Play-by-play broadcaster for the Indianapolis Indians Professional Speaker 2009 inductee Indiana Sportscasters Hall of Fame
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