A couple of lengthy interviews with Larry Joe Legend were released today to add to the interviews we heard and read yesterday. The toughest and most on point interview was done by Conrad Brunner who actually works for the Pacers. Bruno runs Pacers.com and offers the best team coverage of any official team site. The best part is you can actually watch the interview or read the transcript. Pleass check it out. The best part is, finally I heard a question and answer to what will the team do IF Tinsley is found guilty. Nice work, Bruno!
A. Yes, but Conrad, I would hate to go to our team and say, 'Look, I don't think you guys should go out in public at night.' This is Indiana. Come on. This is a state built upon people getting along, people caring about one another. I grew up here. I love this state and I know what it's about. Do we all make bad judgments sometimes? Yes, we do. It's unfortunate that we do but that's part of life. I'm very disappointed in the fact we've had some incidents. We've had more than our share as a team and an organization. Should we be harder on our players? I don't know yet.
We do not like what's happening. We will handle this internally, whether it's suspensions or fines or whatever if they're proven guilty. Nobody's going to walk away from this a winner. There's no way Jamaal's going to win; even if he wins his case, it's not a winning situation for him. It's not a winning situation for us as an organization. But I can assure you of one thing: we're going to have a team out there I'm going to be proud of, you're going to be proud of and our fans are going to be proud of because I know what they want. It might take us some time but I'm going to get the right players in here.
Q. You've already touched on this but in the event they are not cleared, what options are available to you by league rule, by team rule?
A. First, it's whether the league will do anything or not. If the league don't, it's probably up to us, what we're going to do. We have to do something if they're guilty but I hate to sit here and say that because they've still got to go through the court system. They tell us they didn't have anything to do with it so I have to believe that. If we have to penalize our players or suspend our players, I think we have to do that.
IndyStar.com has Mark Montieth's full interview with Larry Joe Legend from "media day" Friday. He covers the a wide range of issues from the off-court problems to the current team and his role to the Colts. As you may expect, none of the answers are long or in any way introspective since LJL doesn't enjoy hearing himself speak. He did stick up for Jamaal Tinsley but realizes no matter what the result of his court case, the damage is done.
A: I've said it over and over: If we can make our team better, we would trade anyone. It's a business. We're trying to get to a point we can win a championship. But to say we're going to get rid of Jamaal just to get rid of Jamaal, no.
The problem is, Jamaal's not out there (in the community). I'm around Jamaal all the time. I like Jamaal. I think he's a stand-up guy. But he's not perceived that way because the public doesn't know him.
That's one of the problems you have when you have professional athletes, because they tend to isolate themselves when they go out. Maybe they feel like they're targets or whatever.
This has been a very tough situation, not only for me but for Donnie (Walsh) and the organization. It's something we have to deal with. But it's new to all of us. I've never been in any situations like this. I don't like what's happened. But I know what our fans want. I grew up in Indiana, I know what kind of basketball should be played. And that's what we're trying to do.
Q: What has Jamaal told you face-to-face about that night?
A: He says he's innocent. I wasn't there, I don't know. He's an employee of ours. We will support him within our group here. And hopefully he's innocent. But the damage has been done. The perception is that he's guilty. It's a difficult situation for the organization.
Bird has attracted plenty of criticism this year for the state of the team and some of the actions of the players. It is nice to hear him speak up and share a little of his thought process with the public. From reading this interview and listening to his interview Bruno with JMV, I get the feeling his competitive juices are still flowing and he's not backing down from the challenge of improving this Pacers team for the long haul.