Former Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird hasn't been seen or heard from since leaving the Fieldhouse last summer.
Well, at least in the public eye.
Pacers guard Lance Stephenson has heard from Bird plenty this year as the NBA legend continues to nurture Stephenson as his NBA game matures. Mark Montieth has the story about Bird and Stephenson staying in touch throughout the season.
Bird and Lance Stephenson, whom Bird drafted in the second round in 2010 after Stephenson's freshman season at Cincinnati, communicate with one another a few times per month.
"Sometimes I hit him and sometimes he hits me," Stephenson said.
"Keep playing hard, do the little things and let the game come to you, things like that," Stephenson said. "He lets me know what to do on the floor and how to make the game easier for me."
Stephenson goes on to refer to Bird as a father figure and great guy. Whatever influence Bird is having on Stephenson it is certainly helping as the 22-year old has put in the work which is now starting to show some results. Jared Wade breaks down how Stephenson is on the court when the Pacers are at their best.
It is hard to point to any individual numbers to explain how Stephenson helps the Pacers, but he offers a Swiss Army knife impact with his ability to do so many different things on the floor. With Bird continuing to give him advice and keep him grounded, things may just be starting to get fun for Stephenson and the Pacers.