When you are looking at the most impressive resumes of anyone who have worked in the NBA in any capacity, Larry Bird is likely at the top of that list. Not only was he one of the best players in NBA histories, but he has also been successful coach and executive as well.
Right from his high school career, people knew he would be special. And in college, he lived up to those expectations. Throughout his three years in college at Indiana State University, he averaged over 30 points a game, over 13 rebounds a game and over 4 assists a game. Despite never winning the national championship, his stats and great play earned him numerous honours and awards throughout his time in college.
And right from the get go, Bird would help transform the Celtics into a powerhouse. In fact, in his first season with the team, he helped to improve their win total by 32 wins and helped them finish first overall in the east. His great play would continue throughout his NBA career, in which he spent each and every one of his 13 years in the league with the Celtics. By the end of his playing career in 1992, Larry Bird was easily a top player in the history of the league. With three NBA championships, and three straight MVP awards as well as twelve all-star appearances, his time as a player was the stuff of legends.
After retiring, he was employed in the Celtics front office from 1992-1997. But in 1997, Bird accepted an offer from the Indiana Pacers to become their head coach, despite never having any coaching experience. When accepting the offer, Bird said he would only coach for a maximum of three years.
Much to the surprise of everyone in NBA circles, Bird led the Pacers to their best season ever with a 58-24 record and made it within a game of the NBA finals. As a result, he was named the NBA Coach of the Year as a rookie head coach and is the only person ever to win the NBA MVP Award and the Coach of the Year award. In the following two seasons, he again led the team to winning seasons and even got them to a birth in the NBA Finals. And despite the success, Bird kept his promise to coach for only three years as he left the team in 2000.
But, in 2003, the Pacers brought him back in and made him the team’s President. In this role, he would oversee the personnel and coaching moves and would actually make the draft picks for the team too. And after a good season for the team in the 2011-2012 season, Bird was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year.
Both on and off the court, Bird’s competitive nature and drive to be the best has made him one of the premier figures in NBA history. While most know he was a great player, people usually don’t know about his off the court expertise, showing that he is a true student of the game and one of the best basketball minds out there.