Basketball great Larry Bird, president of basketball operations for the… (John Raoux / Associated…)
Indiana Pacers President Larry Bird was voted the NBA's executive of the year on Wednesday, becoming the first person to win that award, plus the most valuable player and coach of the year honors.
The Pacers went 42-24 and are tied 1-1 with Miami in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Bird's moves to strengthen the team during the off-season included promoting Frank Vogel from interim to head coach and signing starting forward David West.
He acquired point guard George Hill in a draft-night deal with San Antonio, and traded for Lou Amundson and Leandro Barbosa to fortify the bench for the Pacers, who earned the No. 3 seeding in the East and had the fifth-best record in the league.
Bird was a three-time MVP as a Boston Celtics player, then guided his home-state Pacers to a 147-67 record in three seasons and their only NBA Finals appearance in 2000. He was the coach of the year in 1998 following his first season.
Bird received 88 points and 12 first-place votes from a panel of his fellow team executives Wednesday. San Antonio's R.C. Buford was second with 56 points and eight first-place votes, while the Clippers' Neil Olshey finished third with 55 points (six first-place votes).
Denver Nuggets forward Al Harrington underwent surgery to fix a torn meniscus in his right knee. He is expected to be back on the court in time for summer workouts.
Fresh off a title in Madrid and back at No. 2 in the rankings, Roger Federer defeated Carlos Berlocq, 6-3, 6-4, in his opening match at the Italian Open.
Seeking to win one of only three Masters 1000 events he's never claimed, Federer dealt with the swirling wind inside the 10,500-seat stadium at the Foro Italico in Rome, coming to the net often to finish points.
Rafael Nadal, who was replaced by Federer at No. 2 with his Madrid Open victory Sunday, beat Florian Mayer, 6-1, 7-5.
In women's play, Serena Williams rallied past Nadia Petrova of Russia, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, to extend her winning streak to 15 matches. Venus Williams beat Ekaterina Makarova of Russia, 7-6 (7), 6-1.
Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka withdrew because of a right shoulder injury.
Arbitrator Shyam Das finished hearing arguments from NFL and players' union lawyers on whether Commissioner Roger Goodell can discipline players for actions that occurred before the league's current labor agreement was signed last August.
The hearing in New York lasted more than two hours, with outside counsel Dan Nash arguing the NFL's position and lawyer Jeff Kessler speaking for the NFLPA, which filed a grievance after Goodell suspended four current and former New Orleans Saints players in connection with the league's bounty investigation.
Former Saints Anthony Hargrove, who was suspended eight games, and Scott Fujita, who was suspended for three, attended the grievance hearing. Also suspended were Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012 season and Will Smith for four games.
Notre Dame linebacker Carlo Calabrese has been charged with a misdemeanor count of intimidation for allegedly making threatening remarks to a police officer after quarterback Tommy Rees was arrested.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Calabrese became upset when he saw Rees being placed under arrest and twice told a police officer, "My people will get you."
Rees was pepper-sprayed and arrested May 3 after allegedly running from an off-campus party and resisting arrest. He was charged with battery, two counts of resisting law enforcement and illegal consumption of alcohol by a minor. Both players are due in court Thursday.
A thief burglarized the garage of Junior Seau's home days after the former NFL star's suicide, Oceanside police said. The burglary occurred in Seau's garage at about 2 p.m. on May 7, Lt. Leonard Mata said.
The wife of fired Syracuse University assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine claimed that ESPN maliciously trampled her reputation by broadcasting salacious stories about her and about claims that her husband molested ball boys.
Laurie Fine held a news conference in Geneva, N.Y., and threatened to file a libel lawsuit in federal court against the cable network and two employees. ESPN in November broke the story of two former Syracuse ball boys, Robert Davis and Michael Lang, who claimed they were molested by Bernie Fine decades ago.
"I'm here today as a wife and a mother who has had to endure the trauma of being smeared in the public as a monster," she said, reading quickly from a statement. "My life has been destroyed."