June 26, 2012 / 4:36 PM / 6 years ago

Bird will not return to the Pacers: report

(Reuters) - Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird is quitting the team with unspecified health issues cited among the reasons for his exit, the Indianapolis Star reported on Tuesday.

Bird, a Hall of Famer and the 2011-12 NBA Executive of the Year for his work with the Pacers, was quoted as saying he was “100 percent sure” he would not stay on as president after meeting with owner Herb Simon.

The development came three days after the Star reported that Bird’s predecessor and former boss, Donnie Walsh, was expected to return to the club in some capacity.

Walsh spent 24 years with the Pacers, rising to CEO of the team before leaving in 2008 to become president of basketball operations with the New York Knicks, with whom he parted ways before taking the last year off.

Bird’s work to help rehabilitate the franchise began to pay dividends the past two seasons with the team making consecutive playoff appearances, including a tense Eastern Conference semi-final series against the eventual NBA champion Miami Heat.

Indiana was 42-24 in this year’s strike-shortened season, finishing in second place behind the Chicago Bulls in the Central Division.

Bird, 55, is dealing with back and shoulder issues and will likely take a year off before deciding if he wants to return to any sort of front-office position, the newspaper reported.

A 12-time All-Star for the Boston Celtics, Bird is the only person to be named league MVP, Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year.

Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; editing by Steve Ginsburg

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