Who has time for Florida sunshine when all of Hoosierdom has been promised an NBA title run?
The answer, it appears, is Larry Bird, president of the Indiana Pacers and maker of bold predictions.
After a year’s rest for his ailing back, the former Boston Celtics great is back in the saddle as leader of his home-state Pacers. That leaves much less time for Bird and his wife, Dinah, to hang out in their custom home in the Gulf Coast enclave of Naples, FL, which is now listed for $4.8 million.
The News-Press in Fort Myers reports that when Bird signed a multi-year deal to run the Pacers back on July 1, it was clear there would be little time left in their schedules for the Birds to fly to Florida.
“Signing a multiyear contract, it’s apparent his ability to keep a large home in Naples is limited,” Bird’s agent, Jill Leone, told the News-Press, adding: “They love the area. Everybody loves the area. I’m sure there will be a time when he can spend more time there, but right now physically he’s required to be in the Pacers arena. When you’re an executive running a team, you don’t get much time off. It’s a very active, 365-day job.”
Bird and his wife first bought a home in Naples in 1993, but sold that property in 1998 in favor of this Park Shore neighborhood property. The Birds then had the existing home at 308 Neapolitan Way, Naples, FL 34103 razed and, in its place, built this 6,000-square-foot residence.
Along with expansive views of Venetian Bay, Bird’s 4-bedroom, 6-bathroom home boasts a gourmet kitchen, state-of-the-art home theater with seating for 10, an infinity pool and 4-car garage. There’s also a tiki hut, which proves that despite Bird’s workmanlike demeanor, there’s at least a small chance he knows how to kick back and have a little fun.
Bird, 56, played 13 seasons for the Boston Celtics; coached the Pacers from 1997 until 2000 and then joined the front office in 2003. Last year, Bird had stepped away from his front-office duties, but is now recharged and back in charge.
In a new interview with The Indianapolis Star, Bird made a bold prediction: That the Pacers would defeat the defending champion Miami Heat and win the Eastern Conference title.
“Anything less than (a Finals appearance or a conference finals appearance) would be a disappointment. I think anything over 50 wins is a good season, but I believe we’re built more for the playoffs than we are for the regular season — because we’re deep and we’ll have time to prepare. It’s hard to beat 10 or 11 guys,’’ Bird said.
Larry Legend was able to relax in his Florida abode during his hiatus, which was apparently so reinvigorating that the NBA great is back in top form. During a training camp session this past summer, Bird is said to have hit 15 straight shots, inspiring awe from his Pacer players.
Interested in buying Bird’s home? Calculations show you will need to lay out $18,562 a month, based on 20 percent down payment ($960,000) and a 30-year fixed mortgage. If you don’t like that arrangement, there are approximately 726 other homes for sale in Naples.