Almost lost amid the Celtics' disappointment at not landing the NBA's
top draft choice yesterday was Larry Bird's criticism of the C's in an
interview with NBC's Peter Vecsey.
now Indiana's coach, said too many were involved in the Celtics'
decision-making process. He said they never listened to him, then
related how he learned they never would.
The occasion was the 1994 signing of Dominique Wilkins as a free agent. Bird said he learned of the move by reading a newspaper.
was shocked as anybody and I didn't know how to react to it," Bird
declared, acknowledging it was a bad move. "I knew right then that they
weren't going to listen to me anymore."
Bird agreed with Vecsey's assessment that this was the time "when your input had basically ceased."
on by Vecsey, Bird at first hesitated when asked when the C's stopped
listening to him. Then he said: "I don't think they ever really started.
And I don't blame 'em. I wasn't a full-time employee. That's the one
thing in Boston I always felt was a problem - too many people were
Bird told how upset he was over the once-proud Celtics hitting "bottom."
Boston Celtics are not supposed to be on the bottom," he said. "They're
supposed to be champions, compete, have players out there that die for
the organization. It still hurts.
"It hurts leaving . . . because I got a lot of fans there and a lot of good people.
something changed when (they) went from the old Garden to the
FleetCenter. Something changed and it's time for them to get back to
where they belong."
taking over an hour prelude to Miami eliminating the Knicks, said he's
convinced that if C's owner Paul Gaston had offered Bird the president's
post "and allowed him to pick his own coach," Bird would still be part
of the C's organization. "The question is, would Rick Pitino have come if he didn't have that kind of power?"