May 18, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Andre Iguodala (9) hugs guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics in game four of the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Wells Fargo Arena. The Sixers defeated the Celtics 92-83. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

By Popular Demand, the Pacers Have a New Fan

For as long as I can remember, I’ve cheered two teams in the National Basketball Association: the Denver Nuggets and the Detroit Pistons. My love for the Nuggets came first, and stems from being awe-inspired by Alex English. My cheering for the Pistons starting in high school, when they were losing to the Lakers in the Finals. (I still to this day wonder what Dennis Rodman was thinking taking a three like that).

When the Nuggets landed Carmelo Anthony in the 2003 Draft, I was ecstatic. Aand when the Pistons picked Darko Milicic in the same draft, I was beyond underwhelmed. Since then, Melo has taken his talents to Broadway and the Pistons have jettisoned everyone I liked from those mid-2000s teams.

Now, I think it’s time to start anew. It worked so well when I picked a new football team in 2008 (the Vikings) and now I’m putting myself in the market for a new pro hoops team.

As I did when I went looking for a new NFL team, I put a condition on it: the team I picked could not be one that had won a Super Bowl. That eliminated more than half the league in one fell swoop. I’m going to do the same with my new NBA team. I want to be able to enjoy my new team’s success without being viewed as a bandwagon jumper for the Bulls or Celts or Heat. Championships won in another city won’t preclude me from picking a team, meaning Oklahoma City is in the mix even though the Seattle Supersonics won a title in 1979.

Rather than make “The Decision” for myself, however, I started an online poll. I opened up the voting to friends, followers and co-workers, and when the poll closed at a minute to midnight on January 31, the result was a huge surprise. I figured that, given their current popularity, the Thunder or Clippers would have won in a landslide. They were at the bottom. No dear readers, when I woke up Wednesday morning, I had my answer.

Except there were two answers. The Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies ended up with the same amount of votes, which has left me with a dilly of a pickle. What do I do now? Do I pick them both? Do I rent NBA 2K12 and simulate 99 games between the two teams, with the winner being the first to 50 wins? Do I arrange a Thunderdome steel-cage match between Danny Granger and Rudy Gay?

I opted for the Pacers, for several reasons.

They play in the East, which will help considerably when it comes time to watch them on TV. Secondly, because of their Eastern alignment, they get to visit Toronto (where I live) more often, which gives me more opportunities to see them live. Finally, there’s that guy who wears number 33. I read about Danny Granger leading up to the 2005 Draft, and the more I read, the more I liked. Now, I get to cheer for him as the captain of my team.

I’m looking forward to cheering on my new team. This NBA fandom renewal has been a long time coming, and I’m glad it has finally been made.

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