The recent news that Larry Bird was being retained as team President of Basketball Operations provided news for Pacers fans to get excited. And the reason to be excited did not come from the news of Bird’s return.
The exciting news came in the form of one Stephen Simon, who was involved in the discussion with Bird. Simon is the managing member of Simon Equity Partners and president and CEO at Melvin Simon and Associates. More importantly, he is Herb Simon’s 42-year-old son and in line to take over future ownership of the Pacers. Since the elder Simon is 76-years-old this is an important point to note.
One of the biggest questions on the mind of die-hard Pacers fans is what happens to the team in a few years? The Simon family has been up front about losing money on the team for some time now. This is in sharp contrast to the family fortune that continues to grow through Simon Property Group, which is run by former Pacers co-owner Mel Simon’s son, David. When Mel passed away a few years ago many were surprised that his will included the distribution of sole ownership of the team to Herb. At the time, Herb referenced that he would like to pass the team on to his children. Not having a high profile amongst the Pacers faithful, the idea of Herb’s children taking over the team quickly led to questions of continued interest in the franchise.
The mere fact that Stephen took a high profile role in the discussion with Herb and Bird over the future of the team shows an interest that was previously unknown. In the days since there have been rumors of Stephen taking a more active role with the Pacers. This can only be good news, as having an interested owner that is relatively young would seem to point to a bright future for longtime franchise stability in Indianapolis.
So, go ahead and get excited.