Larry Bird on Rapidly Improving Indiana Pacers: “If I don’t make the playoffs they should fire me”

February 2, 2012 – 8:32 am by Chris Fedor

As a player, Larry Bird will go down as one of the best of all-time. His resume is filled with All-Star appearances, NBA Championships, and MVP’s. He also had a bit of success as coach. Even though it was a short tenure in Indiana, Bird has a Coach of the Year Award in his trophy case. Now “The Hick from French Lick” could be looking at the trifecta with Executive of the Year honors possibly in his future.

Bird’s Pacers made huge strides a year ago by getting to the playoffs, and this year they look poised to take the next step. Indiana is currently 15-6 this season and one of the top teams in the top-heavy Eastern Conference. The amazing thing is that he has built an Eastern Conference power without having a superstar on the roster (though Danny Granger is certainly one of the league’s better scorers). The team is deep, it is tough, it’s talented, and a second straight playoff appearance is all but certain.

Larry Bird joined The Dan Patrick Show to talk about the way his Pacers are playing so far this season, whether or not they are a playoff team, what loss hurt the most in his playing career, and playing under pressure and in crunch-time and the idea that LeBron James doesn’t have the killer instinct.

On his Pacers team this season:

“You know we made some additions with George Hill and David West and you know obviously we had a young team and they got better over the summer. To say that we would have the record we have now I don’t know if I could say that but I told my owner that I thought we would win between 34 and 38 games this year. It’s a 66 game season. That’s sort of my goal and hopefully we can do that.”

If his team is playoff caliber:

“Oh yeah. It all depends on injuries but if I don’t make the playoffs they should fire me.”

What loss hurt more to him as a player: Magic in the garden with the hook or Magic in the NCAA Championship game:

“Jesus. Well I’ve cried three times my whole life and all three of them was because Magic did something to me. Probably college. The hook, if I remember I played it right, he came across the middle and Kevin (McHale) and Robert (Parrish) came after him and I thought he was going to pass it to (Kareem-Abdul) Jabaar because out of the corner of my eye I saw Kareem slip to the basket and I thought he was going to go in for a dunk because he was open. Actually it was a pretty lucky shot if you really get down to it.”

On LeBron not having the killer instinct:

“Everybody is a little different but I will tell you what? That LeBron James is about as good as I’ve ever seen. I mean this guy is unbelievable. I’m not going to say he’s a Michael Jordan and all that but he ain’t too far behind. He ain’t too far behind Kobe either. He just hasn’t made some plays down the stretch and he will. He will win multiple championships before he’s out of this league. You can’t be as good as him and not win.”

Listen to Larry Bird on The Dan Patrick Show here

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