THE PACERS File
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
Home court: Gainbridge Fieldhouse
G.M. Chad Buchanan
Coach: Rick Carlisle
Star: G Tyrese Haliburton
2021 Season: 25-57, failed to make the playoffs.
NBA Titles: None
Greatest Player: SG Reggie Miller
Factoid: The nickname, “Pacers,” has nothing to do with basketball. It’s an homage to the state’s rich harness racing tradition and the pace cars used in the Indianapolis 500.
Hoosiers is one of the great sports movies of all time. We’ll take on anyone who wants to debate this.
Unlike a lot of movies that get all caught up in overhyping a story, this part of Hoosiers is true: Indiana loves its basketball.
From high school, where every school was lumped into one state tournament bracket (see: Hoosiers) to Indiana University, where the Hoosiers wear iconic candy-striped warmups, to the Pacers, basketball is revered. Whether it’s played in the inner cities of Gary or Fort Wayne or Indianapolis, or the farmlands of Indiana, the game is a unifying sport.
The greatest basketball player in Indiana history, Larry Bird, from tiny French Lick, has eloquently spoken about how the game brought players of all colors together on the court: If you can play, you can play.
The Pacers have had their share of great players from Reggie Miller to Chris Mullin to George McGinnis, to Alex English but the franchise is still in search of its first NBA crown. The Pacers owns three ABA titles.
It would be a momentous occasion should the Pacers win it all. The fans have been thirsting for a title since its entrée into the league in 1976. That also was the season (1975-76) that Indiana University went undefeated, winning the national championship with a record of 32-0.
No team has accomplished that feat since then.
Whether it’s the blacktops of inner-city schoolyards or the dirt courts with rims nailed over barn doors, no state is more enamored with basketball than Indiana. The Pacers are one of just two pro teams in the state in the four major leagues.
The Pacers have undertaken a massive rebuilding with one goal in mind – assemble a team that can cut down the nets.