NEW YORK - Donnie Walsh, the President of Basketball Operations for the Indiana Pacers, has helped Indiana and New York get back among the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
With stops in Denver, Indiana and New York, he knows what it takes to make a great team and he knows he has one with this season’s Indiana Pacers.
“The coaching staff and the players we have are great guys. They play together, they play hard. They really like each other and they want to win. So it is like a dream to get a team that has those qualities,” Walsh said.
Walsh, in his second presidential term, and General Manager Kevin Pritchard helped Indiana rise to the top of the Eastern Conference as they prepared for the second round of the NBA playoffs to take on the New York Knicks.
The Knicks are a team that Walsh knows all too well.
After leaving Indianapolis in 2008, he went to New York to help lead the Knicks, bringing some of the league’s biggest names to the Big Apple.
The allure of Broadway and the bright lights soon began to fade for 72-year-old Walsh.
The native New Yorker missed home, he missed Indiana.
“I had a 3-year deal and I left after three years. I was up there alone and I missed my family and I was always coming back to Indiana,” Walsh said.
He returned to Indiana last June, taking over for Larry Bird.
Nearly one year after rejoining the team, Walsh found himself back in New York, this time trying to take down something that he helped to build.
“I am here now so I want this team to win. I have taken a lot of pride seeing what New York is doing,” Walsh said.
The Pacers beat the Knicks in Game 1 102-95. Game 2 is scheduled for Tuesday in New York City.
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