Pacers' past and present uniform history hints at a rebrand

A look into the Indiana Pacers' uniform history reveals potential for a rebrand coming soon.

Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards
Indiana Pacers v Washington Wizards / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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The Indiana Pacers have dedicated seven years to their current uniforms – those embracing the “We Grow Basketball Here” mantra and the only NBA uniforms currently sporting a circular wordmark – but how did we get here? A look back at Pacers uniforms throughout the years hints that a rebrand could be in store for this era of the team. 

Myles Turner
Dallas Mavericks v Indiana Pacers / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

The story begins with the ABA Pacers, who sported four different looks over nine years,1967 to 1976, when they joined the NBA. These threads saw three ABA Championships and two Hall of Famers – Roger Brown and Mel Daniels. 

Dave Robisch
Kentucky Colonels v Indiana Pacers / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

When the Pacers joined the NBA in 1976, they did so with new uniforms. The NBA merger with the ABA marked the beginning of a new era of professional basketball in Indianapolis, so the Pacers honored the time with a new look. They wore these uniforms for nine seasons and pivoted with a refresh in 1985.

Wil Jones, Dan Roundfield
Indiana Pacers v Washington Bullets / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

The 1985 jerseys marked the beginning of an iconic run of basketball fashion for the Pacers. Introduced just two seasons before Reggie Miller was drafted to the team, the striped wordmark was a staple of the Pacers’ look until 1990. 

Dan Roundfield, Chuck Person
Indiana Pacers v Washington Bullets / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Three years into Miller’s tenure with the Pacers, the team began to ascend. It was only fitting that they rebranded in 1990, underscoring the importance of the time with the classic Flo Jos, designed by Florence Griffith Joyner, a Track and Field athlete turned fashion designer. The Flo Jos became symbols of the Pacers’ iconic battles with the New York Knicks and can still be purchased from the Team Store today. 

Reggie Miller
Indiana Pacers v Chicago Bulls / Focus On Sport/GettyImages

Next came the pinstripe era, introduced in 1997. The pinstripe uniforms brought an element of modernism to the Pacers’ look and incorporated the popular pattern onto all three variations – blue, white, and gold. This switch in swagger followed two down seasons – the Pacers were eliminated in the first round of the 1996 Playoffs and missed the postseason entirely in 1997. They returned to the Eastern Conference Finals in the inaugural season of the pinstripe uniforms in 1998. 

Indiana’s pinstripes stuck around for eight seasons, and were the look of the franchises best and worst years. The Pacers wore the pinstripe uniforms in their only NBA Finals appearance in 2000, and in the infamous Malice at the Palace brawl with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. They saw the Dale Davis trade for Jermaine O’Neal, Ron Artest’s draft, and were the last uniforms worn by Reggie Miller. 

Reggie Miller
Indiana Pacers vs Los Angeles Lakers / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages

After the Malice at the Palace incident tarnished the reputation of the pinstripes and Miller retired, the Pacers needed to rebrand for a new era. These Pacers uniforms were simple, the pinstripes were gone but the blue, gold, and white remained a staple of the brand. 

These are the longest tenured Pacers uniforms, and were in commission from 2005 to 2017. They are the symbol of the Paul George era, including players like George Hill, Danny Granger, and Roy Hibbert. 

Paul George, George Hill
Indiana Pacers v Boston Celtics / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

The Pacers saw an opportunity to honor the rich basketball culture of Indiana in 2015 when they partnered with MGM Studios to create a uniform featured in the basketball film Hoosiers. The Hickory uniforms were introduced in 2015, but made various appearances in other seasons. 

Paul George, Kobe Bryant
Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages

Indiana rebranded to its current look in the wake of Paul George’s departure to Oklahoma City, the entry into the brief Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis era, and the beginning of the NBA’s contract with Nike as its outfitter. The circular wordmark is unique to the Pacers – the only other uniform to use the feature was the New York Knicks City Edition in the 2020-21 season. 

As both Oladipo and Sabonis are no longer with the franchise, it stands to reason that the Pacers will follow the current pattern of rebranding each new era – and Tyrese Haliburton has ascended into superstardom. It only seems right to honor the new era with a new look.

Tyrese Haliburton
Indiana Pacers v Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages

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