Bird returns to Pacers with front-office job

Friday, July 11th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Larry Bird returned to the NBA and the Indiana Pacers on Friday, taking a front-office job with the team he coached to the league finals three years ago.

The Hall of Famer will be president of basketball operations, taking over day-to-day decision-making from Donnie Walsh, who led the franchise since 1986 and will stay on as its chief executive.

As a player, Bird won three NBA titles in the 1980s with the Boston Celtics.

He's been out of basketball since 2000, when he walked away from the Pacers at the end of a three-year coaching contract. His final Indiana team lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in that season's NBA Finals.

Back then, the Pacers offered to give Bird a top front-office job, with the option of becoming team president after Walsh retired, but he decided to take a break.

``I was sort of worn down and didn't want a part of it, but I feel rejuvenated and ready to get to work,'' Bird said Friday.