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Published April 23, 2012
END OF AN ERA? SI's Phil Taylor notes for Bird, it "appears that the curtain might soon come down on Act III, in which he has been a quietly effective team president, rebuilding the Pacers into an upper-echelon team again, the likely third seed in the East in the upcoming playoffs." The rumor of his departure "may be premature," but it is "not hard to imagine him deciding to return to his home in Naples, Fla., for good." With each career move he "recedes further into the background, leaving center stage to others." Taylor: "We may not see another like him again. Has anyone pulled off Bird's trifecta -- star for a team, coach a team, build a team -- with so much success?" Bird had the "rare combination of playing ability, coaching patience and an eye for talent -- a basketball man in full." He "may have been most at home on the court, but he wasn't out of his depth on the bench or in the office" (SI, 4/23 issue).