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The Early Lead
Posted at 03:41 PM ET, 06/27/2012

Larry Bird steps down; Donnie Walsh returns to Pacers


Larry Bird and Herb Simon. (Michael Conroy / AP)
Larry Bird isn’t the type to open up during a press conference and talk about his innermost feelings.

And he wasn’t about to detail the reasons why he decided to step down as Indiana Pacers president in the press conference at which the team officially announced its front-office shakeup.

Bird, who was recently named the NBA’s Executive of the Year, is being replaced by Donnie Walsh, as reported earlier this week. Kevin Pritchad becomes the team’s general manager.

“Larry could have stayed here as long as he wants,” owner Herb Simon said (via the Indianapolis Star) in announcing the moves, “but he has his own reasons.”

Those reasons concern his back and shoulder, but his explanation was simply, “I just think it's time. It's the right time to go.”

Bird, 55, plans to take a year off, then decide what he’ll do next. He was asked if he might one day be a Pacers owner and cracked, “Depends how much Herbie leaves me in the will.”

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