Jan 22, 2014; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George reacts in the second half against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center. The Suns defeated the Pacers 124-100. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Larry Bird Wins Executive of the Year Award

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In one season, the Pacers leapfrogged from sneaking into the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time in five years as an 8th seed with a losing record to the fifth best team in the NBA. Some of that is from natural improvement: Roy Hibbert, Paul George and Darren Collison all became much better players in a short time. But a lot of it is also the product of the most obvious reason: David West and George Hill are now on the roster.

For this — and perhaps just being a Pawn Star GM who made didn’t sign any free agents to bad contracts before the season — Larry Bird has been named 2011-12 NBA Executive of the Year. He certainly deserves the recognition. RC Buford of the Spurs is really the only other reasonable candidate.

In getting the award, Bird becomes the first person to win MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year honors. I’m not sure there is another person alive more befitting his nickname. Legend indeed.

Of course, it will be a classic Larry Bird move if he does walk away from the job after he is named the best in the business at it. Just seems like a nice, tidy way to end things. Even more classic Bird? This comment from Larry: “This is an honor for the Indiana Pacers, not an award for Larry Bird.”

Regardless of what happens in the offseason, Bird has certainly set up this home state franchise for long-term success.

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