NBA: Bird steps down from Pacers

The Indiana Pacers formally confirmed Larry Bird's departure as president of basketball operations on Monday, with the NBA great saying his sudden departure was not related to his health or the team.

News of the 60-year-old's exit stunned the NBA when it emerged last week, with Bird walking away from his home-state club after two decades.

Bird said in a statement Monday he would remain available to work with the Pacers in an advisory role but wanted to explore other opportunities outside of basketball.

"I felt it was time to step away in a full-time capacity," Bird said in a statement. "This has nothing to do with my health or our team. I'm 60 years old and I want to do other things away from basketball. I will do some scouting for the Pacers, NBA, college, international, do some appearances and stay in a capacity to advise senior basketball management.

"I love the Pacers, I grew up with the Pacers and admired them from a very young age. I want to thank the fans for their support throughout my career."

Kevin Pritchard, the team's vice president of basketball operations/general manager, will fill Bird's job.

Pacers owner Herb Simon insisted Bird's decision to walk away had not come as a surprise.

"This is not a shock to me as Larry has always been up front about someday stepping down," Simon said.

"I thank him for all that he has done and am very pleased he is remaining with the Pacers in a different capacity."

Bird was the president of basketball operations for the Pacers from 2003-2012, before stepping away for a year, citing health reasons. He resumed the role ahead of the 2013 season.

Bird joined the Pacers organization in 1997 following a playing career spent mostly with the Boston Celtics which propelled him to the Hall of Fame.

The Pacers went 42-40 this season before being beaten 4-0 in the Eastern Conference first-round playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers.