Indiana Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird is the recipient of the 2011-12 NBA Executive of the Year award, the NBA announced Wednesday. Bird totaled 88 points and received 12 first-place votes from a panel of his fellow team executives throughout the NBA.
Bird is the only person to win all three awards - MVP, Coach and Executive of the Year. Red Auerbach, Frank Layden and Pat Riley are the only people to earn both Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year honors.
As President of Basketball Operations, Bird oversaw a Pacers team that went 42-24 (.636), earning the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference and finishing with the league's fifth-best record.
"This is an honor for the Indiana Pacers, not an award for Larry Bird," said Bird. "Everyone in this franchise put in a lot of work and showed a lot of patience as we have tried to get this team to a level on and off the court the fans in Indiana can be proud of. You always believe, and hope, the players you get will fit into a plan and I'm very proud of what our guys and our coaches have accomplished so far this year."
Bird set the tone for the 2011-12 season by naming Frank Vogel, who had served in an interim capacity for 46 games during the 2010-11 season, head coach on July 6, 2011. He added to an already strong nucleus by signing free agent David West in December, and beefed up the Pacers' bench by trading for Lou Amundson and Leandro Barbosa. Indiana's draft picks under Bird's watch have included two key contributors on this year's team: Paul George (2010) and Tyler Hansbrough (2009); as well as Roy Hibbert, who was acquired via a draft night trade in 2009.
A three-time MVP as a player (1984, 85, 86) with the Boston Celtics, the Indiana basketball legend won NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1997-98, his first season on the sidelines, after guiding the Pacers to a 58-24 mark. In three seasons as head coach, Bird led Indiana to a 147-67 record and its only Finals appearance in 2000. Bird is the only person to win all three awards - MVP, Coach and Executive of the Year. Red Auerbach, Frank Layden and Pat Riley are the only people to earn both Coach of the Year and Executive of the Year honors.
The San Antonio Spurs' R.C. Buford finished second with 56 points (eight first-place votes) votes and the Los Angeles Clippers' Neil Olshey finished third with 55 points (six first-place votes). Executives were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.