One of the true legends of the NBA has just picked up a brand new award.
BREAKING NEWS: Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird is the recipient of the 2011-12 NBA Executive of the Year award.
—Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) May 16, 2012
According to the Indianapolis Star, Bird received 88 total points including 12 first-place votes from a panel of NBA team executives. R.C. Buford of the San Antonio Spurs finished second and Neil Olshey of the Los Angeles Clippers rounded out the top three.
At 55 years old, Bird becomes the first person in league history to have won MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year.
Bird predictably shared the praise with the entire organization (via Indy Star):
This is an honor for the Indiana Pacers, not an award for Larry Bird. Everyone in this franchise put in a lot of work and showed a lot of patience as we have tried to get this team to a level on and off the court the fans in Indiana can be proud of. You always believe, and hope, the players you get will fit into a plan and I’m very proud of what our guys and our coaches have accomplished so far this year.
The timing of this announcement couldn’t have been any better. The Pacers are fresh off shocking the Miami Heat in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to capture home-court advantage heading back to Indiana.
Bird’s fingerprints are all over his team’s success.
He drafted Danny Granger, Paul George and Roy Hibbert, all of whom are now starters. Bird also made the shrewd David West signing, my vote for the most underrated pickup of the entire year. In addition, a trade to bring in George Hill brought some much-needed playoff experience to a young team.
Bird has been a member of the Pacers organization for quite some time now. He was head coach from 1997-2000, scooping up Coach of the Year during the 1997-1998 season. Bird accumulated a 147-67 overall record as the Pacers’ coach.
After a three-year break from the team, he returned in 2003 to help the struggling team as an executive.
After a decade mired in mediocrity, Indiana reversed its fortunes by defeating the Orlando Magic this year and advancing to its first second round since the 2004-2005 campaign.
With a young nucleus already doing major damage in the playoffs, the sky is the limit for this Pacers team.
There is no doubt Bird is a worthy recipient of this honor.
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