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Larry Bird: 'It's just the right time'

Posted at 1:10 PM, May 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-01 16:51:59-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- At 60 years old, Larry Bird has been involved in professional basketball for nearly 40 years. For him, it's time for a change.

The news leaked Friday, but Bird officially announced Monday he's stepping down as president of the Indiana Pacers. 

"It's just time to go," Bird said. "I love Indianapolis, I love it here. It's a great city. ... To me, it's just the right time."

PREVIOUS | Larry Bird stepping down as Pacers president

General manager Kevin Pritchard will take over as team president, but Bird isn't going completely away. He will remain an advisor to the team, while spending more time with his family. He wants to stay busy.

Bird said he made the decision to step down after the 2016-17 season ended, about a year ago.

"There's not a lot of people who knew it, maybe four or five." he said.

It didn't take long for the elephant in the room --Paul George -- to come up. George's contract is up after next season, and it's unclear if he wants to stay. If he has no intentions of staying, the Pacers could trade him before the season starts and get some value out of him.

"I don't think [my decision] impacts him at all," Bird said. "Paul is gonna do what Paul wants to do."

Pritchard said George talked about wanting to be back during his exit interviews. 

"He wants to win," Pritchard said. "The Pacers want to win. We're on the same page."

Those winning days are still fresh in Bird's mind. At Monday's presser, he revisited some of the best times he can remember of being in charge of the Pacers. One specific memory was center Roy Hibbert's block on Carmelo Anthony in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.


Despite the change at the top for the Pacers, Bird has no plans to go anywhere else. 

"Right now, we're here in Indianapolis. We're committed to Indianapolis. We love it up here," he said. "Unless it's real cold, this is the place to be."

Watch Bird and Pritchard discuss their new roles in the video player above.