Looking through the history of the Pacers organization, there have been a few names that rose above as some great Indiana Pacers. Now for this post, I’m only looking at the NBA side of the Pacers history as I never got to watch the ABA days. I do know that three guys have their numbers in the rafters of Banker’s Life Fieldhouse, which should tell you how great those ABA Pacers were. I believe they won three titles, the last two of which were the last years of the ABA. Roger Brown, Mel Daniels, and George McGinnis are those three guys.
For me, there’s an easy choice who to talk about first. Reggie Miller really did put this Pacers organization on the map. During that playoff run against the New York Knicks, he put the state of Indiana on the map. Those were the days of Hicks vs Knicks as people only thought about Indiana as that type of state.
Reggie was the ultimate fan favorite of fans around here since he did have such a great way of playing on the court. He could carry the team when he needed to, but he did it with a playful attitude as well. Who can forget after hitting a game winning shot and Reggie just jumping for joy right there in the middle of the court? Or the famous choke sign to Spike Lee after bringing the Pacers back to beat the Knicks. So many Reggie moments all resulting in a Hall of Fame career.
Speaking of Hall of Fame career for the Pacers, I have to bring up Rik Smits. Here’s a guy who probably didn’t look to make this Pacers team much better. But his size and ability did. I’ll always remember the playoff run where everyone shaved their heads, and Smits had to get rid of his lovely locks. He’s a guy that should have his number up in the rafters of Banker’s Life as one of the ultimate Pacers.
Another personal choice for me would be Chuck Person. I loved his nickname as RifleMan. He could hit a big shot from time to time, and even take a big shot on the other team. Personal memory for me is when he got into a fight with someone on the Pistons team as one of my first games to attend watching the Pacers. I didn’t know what was going on, expect Person had that Pistons player in some headlock. Another guy that belongs up there in the rafters.
The Pacers were very lucky to have those three guys as part of their organization. Sure it’s not the prestige of a team like the Celtics, where you could rattle off ten or more names. Or the Lakers, where you can start naming off names. But this town of Indianapolis needed those high character people, which is what they were. They brought something to the community as well as bringing their A game every night.
Who would be your top Indiana Pacers?