On Wednesday, Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird hopped on the phone as a guest on the Dan Patrick Show, more than happy to trade banter with DP while pumping up his team. In past seasons, Bird seemed to treat radio interviews that focused on his team like a root canal appointment.
So I was surprised early in the interview when Bird say, "Hey, how about those Pacers?" Suddenly Bird was sounding like Eddie White. Was he aware he was on the air?
DP's show is broadcasting from Victory Field and hoped to have Larry Legend show up in person, but Bird joked he couldn't make the half-mile walk because he was busy finishing a trade for Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Although he had concerns about how they would use both players.
Yeah, the prez is in a good mood these days. He did discuss the Pacers in a more serious manner and it appears the team is exceeding his expectations so far.
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."
The Pacers are currently on pace to win 45 games, which seems insane but far more possible than it did when Bird set Herb Simon's expectations for the season. Good times, indeed.
Check out the whole interview for some great stories from Bird's past in the NBA and college.