Still No Decision from Bird

May 7, 1997

The world was in turmoil. Rick Pitino was saying goodbye to the Wildcats of Kentucky. Blood was flowing in the Celtic offices at 151 Merrimac Street. The Indiana Pacers were dying to find out if they have a coach. And where was Larry Bird?

On the golf course.

"I know I have to make a decision," said Bird after his round of 18. "But I said all along I wasn't going to do anything until the Celtics had a coach in place. I set out to do a job and I did it. I'm very happy Rick Pitino is coming because I thought he was the best man all along."

Bird acknowledged that he is very interested in the position he's been offered with the Pacers, but he knew Pitino was trying to get in touch with him and said he wouldn't make any career decision until he talked with the new Boston mentor. However, a source to close to Bird yesterday indicated that he would accept Indiana's lucrative offer ($ 4.5 million a year to coach plus part ownership) but would delay the announcement until after Pitino's news conference tomorrow in Boston.

Bird said he had no more idea how he could fit into a Pitino regime than anyone else and stressed that it certainly would not be easy for him to leave the Celtics.

"I'm a Celtic," he said. "I'll always feel that I'm a Celtic."

The decision, he said, would not come today and might not come this week. The important thing right now, he said, was talking with Pitino.

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