Yahoo has put together the ten greatest athletes to play in the Indianapolis market. As you can imagine, one Indiana Pacers is obviously listed in Reggie Miller. I am a bit surprised Jermaine O’Neal has made the list, and even Rik Smits is on there. When it comes down to those guys, I understand their respective careers and how it’s shaped through Indy, but just a bit surprised they are listed. I think you could look at O’Neal as a guy who did embrace the Indiana Pacers, and kind of left on not so good terms just based upon how down his career was going. But there’s little doubt that when he was on, he was one of the top players in the game. Even earning some MVP votes one season, and finishing third in the 2004 season just behind Tim Duncan and winner Kevin Garnett. For a guy in a small market like the Pacers, that’s not a bad finish at all.
You look at Rik Smits and his career. He’s a guy that just always came to play and like Reggie Miller was an Indiana Pacer for his whole career. He was a guy out of Holland, so not many knew what to expect. But 7’4″ and able to play the center position made him a household name around here. The Dunkin’ Dutch Man as fans loved to call him. Even now, he can be seen at plenty of Pacer games, and looks to still embrace Indy as a home.
But when it comes down to that list, and who is my pick for greatest Indianapolis athlete? I have to go with R-E-G-G-I-E. Not Reggie Wayne. But Reggie Miller. Look at what the site here is called, It’s Always Miller Time, how can I not go with Reggie? You just look at how he put the city of Indianapolis on the map with his playoff heroics, which is where you really want to do your damage when it comes to basketball and all sports? Ask Peyton Manning, who is just a step below Miller in my opinion when it comes to greatest athletes here. If Manning wins one more Super Bowl during his time here, just think how good people talk him up. I mean he’s already up there in the greatest of the greats, and he’s got that one championship ring over Miller. But Reggie to me is that guy that paved the way for Manning to step into that role of who could open more eyes to Indy.
I think if you had to pick a Pacers player of today, you look at Paul George as that guy to step into the list. He’s a guy that will probably be a Pacer for the foreseeable future. He’ll be a guy that could be a superstar, which is something fans have been clamoring for. He’s a guy that looks to want to be involved with the community here. All great aspects of what fans want in the athletes in town. Roy Hibbert could be up there on that list as well, if he continues to improve his game. But right now, George is the guy ready to step into that. What a treat it is to be a sports fan in Indy with someone like Paul George wearing the Blue and Gold.