Isiah Thomas says Larry Bird ‘made a mistake firing me’ as coach of the Indiana Pacers

Isiah Thomas says Larry Bird ‘made a mistake firing me’ as coach of the Indiana Pacers

Should Larry Bird have fired Isiah Thomas as head coach of the Indiana Pacers in 2003?

Thomas believes it was a mistake. In an NBA on TNT segment with Reggie Miller, Thomas and Bird, the former Detroit Pistons All-Star opened up about being let go over 20 years ago.

“I get a call from Donnie (Walsh),” Thomas said. “Larry’s been hired to come back to the Pacers as president of basketball operations. I walk in the office and there’s Larry and Donnie. Larry goes, ‘Hey, Isiah, I think you’ve done a great job here but I’ve decided to go in a different direction. I’m going to let you know go and I’m going to bring in Rick Carlisle.'”

Thomas was hired as the coach of the Pacers in June 2000 and replaced Bird, who resigned after coaching Indiana for three seasons. Thomas, who also coached the Pacers for three seasons, went 131-115.

During the interview, Miller, who played for both Bird and Thomas, said the two had an “interesting dialogue” at the time.

Thomas said he thought Bird was making a mistake in 2003.

“I said, ‘Larry, you and I, I think if we’re together here in Indiana, I think we can do great things with this team. I think you and I would be dynamic here,” Thomas said.

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