Our series on the four jerseys fans of every NBA team continues today. It’s Central Division week, and today we’re focusing on the Indiana Pacers. Remember, we’re not just going to list off four popular players in team history. We know that when you’re wearing a jersey, you’re going for a “look.” So every day we’re going to tell you the jersey you’ve got to have, the jersey you can’t go wrong with (in case you can’t find the first one), the jersey that will make people say “Oh, that’s awesome,” and the joke jersey that will have everyone laughing.
The Pacers trace their roots all the way back to the ABA, where they were quite the powerhouse. They won three titles in a four year stretch, lost in the finals twice, and lost in the division finals three other times. Their time in the NBA has been a bit more frustrating, however, with only one trip to the Finals in 2000, which ended in a six-game loss to the Lakers. But the frustration of being fans of a close-but-not-close-enough team hasn’t tempered then enthusiasm of the basketball-crazy fans in Indiana. These fans love hoops and love their Pacers. Picking four jerseys for fans this hardcore is a difficult task.
Reggie Miller — The obvious choice for any Pacers fan. Reggie’s one of the NBA’s all-time dead-eye shooters. And his clutch performances are legendary. Jared didn’t pick the name of his site out of a hat. Reggie single-handedly authored one of the greatest playoff comebacks of all time. And his choke sign to Spike Lee was just priceless. Wear that #31 with pride, Pacers fans, and practice Reggie’s ugly, cross-handed release while you’re at it.
Can’t Go Wrong With:
Dale Davis — As Jared called him “our Charles Oakley.” True NBA fans know what that means: Davis was a bad ass. He was the enforcer. When has Dale Davis ever backed down from anyone? Never, that’s when. Larry Bird once said he’d fight anyone… except Dale Davis. That’s saying something. On top of it all, Davis was a reliable double-double guy and a key player for the Pacers in their run through the 90’s as one of the East’s best teams. Put on a #32 in Indy and fellow fans are guaranteed to nod in approval.
“Oh, That’s Cool”:
Mel Daniels — We’re going way back with this one. Daniels was a two-time ABA MVP and three-time champion with the Pacers. How good was he? In 1970-71, he was nearly a 20/20 guy. In the three championship seasons, his playoff points/rebounds averages were 19.3/17.7, 15.3/15.1 and 15.9/13.8. The man was a beast that delivered the franchise’s only three titles. Show how much you know your Pacers history, and wow even the most hardcore Pacers fans, by walking around town with a #34 jersey.
“Oh, That’s Funny”:
Jonathan Bender — I don’t know if this will make Pacers fans laugh or cringe. Bender was part of that “preps-to-pros” era where kids were coming out of high school at such a rate, the NBA set age limits to put an end to it. Bender was as hyped as just about any of them, but he never quite lived up to the hype. The best season he could muster produced averages of seven points and three boards. Not exactly “phenom” level stuff. After that came the injuries, and then the end of his NBA career (not before he made $30 million, though). Rock the #24 around town and you’ll get a few laughs as people wonder if you’re still waiting for his breakout season to come.
There you have it. The four jerseys Pacers fans have got to have. Disagree with us? Let us know who we missed in the comments.
Tomorrow: The Milwaukee Bucks
Jeff Garcia collaborated on this post