INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Tyler Hansbrough's path to the NBA looks familiar to Pacers president Larry Bird.
Both entered their draft nights as 6-foot-9 forwards from small towns. Both could have left school early, but instead stayed and played in the national championship game. Both built reputations for being tireless workers, and both had doubters who said they weren't athletic enough to make it in the NBA.
Bird eventually won three championships and three most valuable player awards for the Boston Celtics. He doesn't expect that from Hansbrough, but he believes Indiana's first-round pick will be a key to the Pacers' rebuilding effort.
The Pacers introduced Hansbrough during a news conference Friday afternoon.
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.