Tag:Larry Bird
Posted on: July 21, 2011 3:17 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 11:25 pm

Jordan, Bird, Magic on NBA 2K12 covers

Posted by Ben Golliver.


NBA legend Michael Jordan graced the cover of NBA 2K11 last year and, by all accounts, that decision was a smash success, as the game reportedly sold more than five million copies internationally. 

As a follow-up, 2K Sports will be putting the Chicago Bulls guard on the cover of this year's edition, NBA2K12, along with two other extremely recognizable faces: Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird and Los Angeles Lakers guard Magic Johnson. That's right: triple the pleasure, triple the fun. 

USAToday.com has more

Each athlete will be featured on their own separate cover when the game launches October 4.

"Jordan was such a success for us, and even if we wanted to do something different, the fans would never let us do it," says 2K vice president of marketing Jason Argent of His Airness' involvement with NBA 2K last year. "The feedback has been so positive."

Argent says 2K is "working on a potential solution" for consumers who buy a copy of NBA 2K12 with one cover but want to collect the other two versions.

CNN.com reports that the triple cover concept could be a first for a sports video game.
Argent said the three covers for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions will be shipped in equal numbers to each retail location in the U.S. He said all other platform versions and non-U.S. locations will only get the Jordan cover. 

"The idea was to keep doing things bigger and better and continue to shake things up."

Argent said he thought the multicover approach was a first in the sports video game genre and extends the strong legacy established by "NBA 2K11." Last year's game sold more than 5 million units worldwide and won 14 Sports Game of the Year honors.
Each of the covers -- pictured above -- features an action shot of the Hall of Famer performing a signature move. Jordan is shown driving to the rim; Bird is pictured shooting a pull-up jumper; Johnson is swinging through with a baby hook shot. Each player's name and jersey number appears at the bottom.

An interesting question: How much was the decision to use the trio influenced by the fact that the NBA is currently in a lockout that could easily extend well past the game's launch date? Was it safer to pick NBA legends to avoid a controversy or is this simply a testament to Jordan's massive, enduring popularity? 

Original pictures via Darren Rovell on Lockerz.com

Posted on: July 8, 2011 11:31 am
Edited on: July 8, 2011 12:53 pm

Report: Kevin Pritchard to join Pacers

Posted by Matt Moore

Kevin Pritchard has surprisingly been out of pro basketball for a bit. Pritchard, the assistant GM and later general manager of the Blazers' resurgence, was known for his uncanny ability to create beneficial trades that netted good young asset after good young asset.

He was fired in 2010 for, well ... whatever it is Paul Allen fires people for (also known as the Cho Effect). Perhaps Pritchard's most notable mistake was drafting Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, which wouldn't have been so bad had the Basketball Gods not have it in for Oden. Or at least his knees. 

Pritchard didn't pop up in a new position right away, fueling talk that it was his stubborn approach and "arrogant" attitude, as several Portland reports suggested, that talked his way out of a job.

But it would appear his time in purgatory has come to an end. Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports that the Pacers are "in the process of hiring" Pritchard to work with Larry Bird, president of Basketball Operations, and General Manager David Morway. Yahoo! Sports reports that his title will be "Director of Player Personnel."

Pritchard has worked with the Pacers in the past, including in the past year. He's very tight with that organization, so this isn't really a shock. It's conceivable with Bird very much on the fence about his future past this season that Pritchard could be putting himself in line to take the reins once Bird retires. Morway would head to the president of Basketball Operations, and Pritchard would then handle GM duties. 

It gives the Pacers a more forward-thinking element in the front office compared to Bird's very old school approach. And having someone who can handle the media without looking as if he wants to stab all of them can't hurt either.

In the past 30 days, the Pacers have hired the coach that helped get them to the playoffs and about as impressive a five-game series loss to the top overall seed as you can find, the former assistant coach under Phil Jackson in L.A. and Pritchard. The infrastructure is there. The talent core is there (even if a star is still missing).

Now they just need a season to test the new engine. 

Posted on: July 5, 2011 4:17 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 4:41 pm

Finally, Pacers to name Frank Vogel head coach

Posted by Royce Young

It only took about three months too long, but the Indiana Pacers will introduce Frank Vogel as their next coach at a press conference Wednesday.

Reportedly, Vogel signed for three years with the team, with the third being a team option.

Interim coach after Jim O'Brien was fired earlier in the season, Vogel helped the Pacers finish strong. They went 20-18 with Vogel in charge and pushed the top-seeded Bulls in the opening round of the playoffs, eventually bowing out in five games.

What was the hold-up, though, in naming him the head man?

Management -- read, Larry Bird -- was concerned with Vogel's ability to oversee a locker room and maintain the respect of his players. According to a report, things like punctuality and discipline slipped after Vogel took over. As a result, he targeted strong-minded assistants, one being Brian Shaw formerly of the Lakers.

Vogel, if you'll recall, is now officially the league's youngest coach at 37.

He seems to be a natural fit for the Pacers, and the team obviously plays hard for him. It's a wise move for the Pacers to retain Vogel. There are other good alternatives, but clearly the team is willing to play for him, and continuity is always a good thing, if it's an option.

When he took over the job in February, Vogel said, "We're changing the identity of our basketball team dramatically. We are a power-post team, blood and guts, old school, smash-mouth team that plays with size, strength, speed, athleticism. We attack the basket."

The Pacers did exactly that, playing a bit more uptempo while also integrating Roy Hibbert in the post. It was an effective strategy and was a big part of the team finishing well.

The Pacers were also interested in Mike Brown and Dwane Casey, but both of those found jobs with other teams. Who knows if they turned down the Pacers or vice versa. What we do know is that Vogel is officially in charge of the team he seemed to connect well with last season.

It's a little funny to me too that Vogel got this job. Back in January when the Pacers were considering canning O'Brien, they hesitated because they didn't feel a good interim replacement was on the current staff. They went ahead with firing O'Brien and then promoted Vogel, a young and raw assistant. He did well, got the team to buy into a system, play hard and make a playoff push.

And now he's the team's full-time coach. Sometimes, the best option is right under your nose.
Posted on: June 28, 2011 10:24 am
Edited on: June 28, 2011 11:02 am

Larry Bird's probably done after this year

Posted by Matt Moore

Larry Bird's decision to return to the Pacers came as a mild surprise. Bird's been signaling his way out of town, out of public life, really, for quite some time. He's never much liked the spotlight and has been talking about not wanting to do his job as president of the Pacers forever. Recent comments have made it clear it's not his intention to stick around.

But when push came to shove, with the coaching situation providing instability and the roster at a pivotal point with money coming off the books headed into a new CBA and with the team wanting to build off its success this season, Bird decided to stay.

Before you get lulled into thinking Bird may be swung into staying a while based off how "enjoyable" he said last year was, though, take a gander at what he told the Boston Globe
“It’s a handshake deal,’’ said Bird, who will be honored tomorrow at TD Garden as part of the Sports Museum’s The Tradition. “I don’t want a [long-term] contract.’’ But they both know a year isn’t a very long time.

“It’s at a point now in my life where I think it might be time to really reconsider and see how long I want to do this,’’ said Bird, now 54. “They asked me to stay another year through the lockout season, the owner did, for a favor. I was leaving, but he asked me to stay, and I will and I’ll get the job done.
via Larry Bird may look to slow the pace - The Boston Globe.

Bird has been in the Pacers' front office for eight years. It's no wonder he's getting burned out. In reality, you can tell part of Bird is frustrated by missing what it was like to step out on the floor and knock down the shot, grab the rebound and make the pass himself.

That's the hardest part for legends turned decision-makers: watching someone else try and execute what they know how to do.

The Pacers have a fast, young point guard and a versatile forward, who at the very least will fetch a hefty price on the market. They've got a center with upside (even if he's frustratingly passive), and a number of talented forwards and wings like Paul George, Tyler Hansbrough, and now George Hill to add to the puzzle.

And with a new core being developed, maybe it is time for some new blood in Indiana. Larry Bird's earned a real retirement.
Category: NBA
Posted on: June 23, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: June 23, 2011 6:06 pm

Report: Shaw to become Pacer associate head coach

Posted by Royce Young

Brian Shaw was supposed to be first in line to succeed Phil Jackson as head coach of the Lakers. That didn't happen, as Mike Brown was handed the job. The question then was, what's to become of Shaw, who is considered a rising coaching star?

According to the Indianapolis Star, he's set to become the Pacers "associate head coach."

Of course that's just a fancy name for an assistant, but what's so interesting here is that the Pacers still don't officially have a head coach yet. Frank Vogel is expected to get the position eventually, but that's contingent on Vogel putting together a good assistant staff. At least that's what Larry Bird has said recently.

Shaw isn't the most experienced guy in the world, but he's highly respected. One of the supposed issues with hiring Vogel was keeping control of the team as a disciplinarian and Bird wanted Vogel to have a couple assistants that think that way. I don't know if Shaw is exactly that, but he definitely makes the staff stronger.

Shaw will be a head coach at some point. It's obviously his goal. Who knows, maybe that job will come in Indiana if he replaces Vogel. The team hasn't settled on anything quite yet, but I'm sure it'll likely be Vogel. But if things don't go well, the job could easily becomes Shaw's in a hurry.

Posted on: June 17, 2011 3:47 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 4:18 pm

Larry Bird says LeBron is as good as anyone ever

Posted by Royce Young

LeBron James is 26 years old. He's got at least five to seven more years of basketball in his prime which means he has quite a bit of time to re-write all this legacy talk that's dominated headlines over the past week.

So he lost in the NBA Finals. For a second time. Doesn't mean he's got to retire a loser forever now.

Nobody keeps perspective quite like the former all-time greats. They understand what it means to be a champion and the road it takes to get there. Isiah Thomas came to LeBron's defense saying James is just going through things that all stars go through. And Larry Bird -- who when The Basketball Jesus speaks, you listen -- said not to worry too much about LeBron because his time will come. Via Sports Radio Interviews, Bird was asked if he feels bad for LeBron because of all the recent criticism:
“He brought a lot of it on himself, but here’s what I feel about LeBron: he’s as good as anyone that’s ever played this game. I think he’s going to win a lot of titles; I think he’s going to continue to get better. To me, he’s an amazing athlete, he’s never been hurt, he’s got the body of a football player and he’s got skill. I just think he’s off the charts good.

And I think his time is going to come. I think they did a remarkable job in Miami this year bringing that team together and getting where they got. They’ll get better next year. Their time is going to come if he stays healthy, and he’s going to have a lot of success in this league and win championships.”
People like me can say that stuff like that over and over, but when Larry Legend says it, it makes a lot more impact. LeBron's time will come. He's too good for it not to.

Bird sort of took the Scottie Pippen side of things saying LeBron is "as good as anyone that's played this game." And in terms of pure talent, I don't think you can really disagree. But LeBron's not the total package yet. He's got work to do and rings to win before anyone is willing to place him anywhere near an all-timers list.

But there's a lot of time left and a lot of chapters left to be written in the LeBron Legacy. I wouldn't write him off quite yet.
Category: NBA
Posted on: May 10, 2011 4:46 pm

Larry Bird to remain with the Pacers

Posted by Royce Young

Larry Bird will remain the Pacers' President of Basketball Operations and David Morway the general manager, the team announced Tuesday.

Owner Herb Simon met with Bird and discussed the team and Bird's future Tuesday and came to the conclusion it was best for Bird to remain in his position.

“I’m quite pleased with the success we experienced this past season and pleased with the direction our team is going,” Simon said in a statement. “I’m glad Larry is staying to help us continue in the positive direction we are going.”

The Pacers made a somewhat improbable push to the postseason this year, losing to the top-seeded Bulls 4-1 in the opening round. Every game except the last was highly competitive though and all in all, the 2010-11 campaign is seen as a step in the right direction for the Pacers.

“The past few months have been the most enjoyable since I took over as President of Basketball Operations,” said Bird. “To see our young players develop, to see us make the playoffs and then to see us compete in a hard-fought series with Chicago are indications we are headed in the right direction and it has made me even more determined to help this team improve further and go to the next level.

“I hope we can keep our core basketball group together and one of my first priorities will be to address the coaching situation.”

The focus now moves to Frank Vogel who finished the season with an interim tag. Vogel's situation was said to get resolved once Bird's future was settled, so I'm sure we'll hear whether or not Vogel will be retained as the team's head coach for another season. Bird seemed to hint at opening up the position a bit late in the season but with the way the Pacers pushed the Bulls and played hard for Vogel, it really seems like it should be his job.
Posted on: April 11, 2011 11:08 am
Edited on: April 11, 2011 11:19 am

Pacer speculation angered Donnie Walsh

Posted by Royce Young

As Ken Berger wrote last week, it's most likely that Larry Bird will return next season to his seat as the Indiana Pacers lead executive. There was a strong feeling that if Indiana had missed the playoffs, Bird would've walked away, which opened the door from some front office speculation.

With Donnie Walsh's future up in the air in New York, some saw a natural fit of him returning to the Pacers, an organization he helped turn into an Eastern Confernce powerhouse a while back. But Walsh isn't having any of it.

"I'm angry about that," Walsh told New York Post Sunday. "There's absolutely no truth to it. I never talked to [Pacers owner] Herb Simon or anybody else about it. To me, it's something someone makes up."

In terms of confirming that Bird will be back, Walsh said, "I'm glad he's coming back. He doesn't need it. If it's interfering with his lifestyle, I could see him saying: I'll go to Florida and fish all day."

For Walsh though, his contract is up April 30 unless owner James Dolan exercises his option for next season. There's been a lot of back and forth on whether that would happen, but with the way the Knicks are closing the regular season, Walsh's creation is looking pretty good. But Walsh didn't want to talk about his future with the Knicks.

"I've been doing it so long, I don't want to say it's a big part of my life," he said. "It's not the truth. It's just part of what you are. And I don't want to end it until I'm done and happy with it."

It was reported last week that Walsh's future with the Knicks may actually be in his own hands.

The Knicks would be crazy not to welcome Walsh back, but then again, things don't always work in common sense terms. Walsh has done a fantastic job working the Knicks' ridiculous salary down while creating flexibility and building from within. He's compiled a good amount of talent which opened the door for the Carmelo Anthony trade, something that wouldn't have been possible in years past.

I can understand the Indiana speculation because it makes sense for him to go home where he would be a bit more appreciated. He's done a pretty nice job in New York, but everyone just seems to try really hard not to notice.
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