Larry Bird Needs To Stay With The Indiana Pacers For At Least One More Season
There’s been a lot of talk about what Larry Bird is going to be doing this time next year. After winning NBA championships in 1981, 1984, and 1986 with the Boston Celtics, guiding the Indiana Pacers to the NBA Finals in 2000, and rebuilding Indy into a contender in the Eastern Conference over the course of the last few years—a feat that earned him the NBA Executive of the Year award late last week—there’s been a lot of speculation about what the future holds for him. Some publications out there have reported that Bird already has one foot out the door in Indiana and plans on retiring after the 2012 NBA Playoffs. Others think he could be back, thanks to the fact that the Pacers are doing so well this season. But, what should he do?
Well, from where I’m sitting, I’d like to see Larry Legend stick around for at least one more season to see how the current Pacers lineup grows up on his watch. While I’ve been impressed with what the Pacers have done this year, I think there is still plenty of work that can be done in Indiana in order to make them a true contender. So, why wouldn’t Bird want to stick around for that? It’d be like a chef preparing an entire meal, everyone telling him how great it was, and then dessert time rolling around and him saying, “You know what? Find someone else to make it. I’m outta here!” This is supposed to be the fun part for him. So, he needs to get back to work this offseason, make a few tweaks to the Pacers lineup, find a way to market them a little bit better (why did we just start talking about them, like, last week?), and then make a real run at the NBA championship. Can you even begin to imagine what that would do for Bird’s legacy?
I’d also like to see Bird stick around for another season because things are just starting to get interesting in the Eastern Conference. As a Chicago Bulls fan, I’ve fought with fans of the Los Angeles Lakers for years now about how the Eastern Conference has always been the red-headed stepchild compared to the Western Conference. But, now? Well, the Bulls have a solid future ahead of them. The Miami Heat are obviously going to be in the mix for a championship for the next six or seven seasons. The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will start a rivalry in no time. And, who knows? Maybe Bird’s whole pal Michael Jordan will even get his act together one day and turn the Charlotte Bobcats into…well, something. Throwing the Pacers—and, by default, Bird—into that mix excites me.
So, what do you say, Larry Legend? One more year? C’mon. There’s been a lot of talk about where you’ll be a year from now. And, we sincerely hope it’s right where you are now. The NBA still needs you.