The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team and franchise that is part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) of the U.S.A.
The franchise has its base of operations in the State’s capital and largest city, Indianapolis, Indiana, located in the center of the State. The Indiana Fever of the WNBA, also owned by Melvin & Herb Simon, are the Pacers’ sister team and also play at Conseco Fieldhouse as well: the home stadium to both franchises. The Indiana Pacers mascot, Boomer, is one of the more popular mascots and appears often for the NBA .
In early 1967, a group of six investors (among them attorney Richard Tinkham, sports agent Chuck Barnes and Indianapolis Star sports writer Bob Collins) pooled their resources to purchase a franchise in the proposed American Basketball Association.
According to Indianapolis attorney Richard Tinkham, the nickname “Pacers” was decided on through a collective decision of the original investors. Tinkham, one of those investors, recalled that the nickname was a combination of the state’s rich history with the harness racing pacers and the pace car used for the running of the Indianapolis 500. Investor Chuck Barnes was a horse racing enthusiast in addition to being business manager of Mario Andretti, A. J. Foyt and Rodger Ward. Barnes’ wife, Lois, suggested the name over dinner.
Tinkham said the “Pacers” decision was an easy one, but the real debate was whether the team should be called the Indiana Pacers or the Indianapolis Pacers. Since one of the original ideas for the team was to have it playing throughout the state with its base in Indianapolis, the official team name became the Indiana Pacers.
For their first seven years, they played in the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum, now called the Pepsi Coliseum. In 1974, they moved to the plush new Market Square Arena in downtown Indianapolis, where they stayed for 25 years.
Early in the Pacers’ second season, former Indiana Hoosiers standout Bob “Slick” Leonard became the team’s head coach, replacing Larry Staverman. Leonard quickly turned the Pacers into a juggernaut. His teams were buoyed by the great play of superstars such as Jimmy Rayl, Mel Daniels, George McGinnis, Bob Netolicky, Rick Mount and Roger Brown. The Pacers were – and ended – as the most successful team in ABA history, winning three ABA Championships in four years. In all, they appeared in the ABA Finals five times in the league’s nine year history: a feat that was never bettered by any other ABA franchise.
In May of 2010, after completing his rookie season, G A. J. Price suffered a knee injury during a charity pick-up game that would require surgery. His expected rehabilitation was to last between 4-6 months, to be back just in time for training camp.
The 2010 NBA Draft brought in five new faces for the Pacers. G Paul George (basketball) out of the Fresno State University in the first round and G Lance Stephenson from the University of Cincinnati in the second round. The Pacers also selected F Ryan Reid from the Florida State University. The draft rights to Reid were traded on draft night to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange to the rights to F-C Magnum Rolle from the Louisiana Tech University. The Pacers signed Paul George (basketball) to his rookie contract on July 1, 2010. Lance Stephenson signed a multi-year contract with the team on July 22. 2010. As of September 20, Rolle has yet to be signed by the team.
On August 11, 2010, the Pacers acquired G Darren Collison and G-F James Posey from the New Orleans Hornets in a four-team, five-player deal. Troy Murphy was dealt to the New Jersey Nets within that trade. The gain of Collison has been a sign that the Pacers’ starting point guard dilemma has been solved for many years to come.
Off-the-court issues involving rookie Lance Stephenson (Allegations of pushing his current girlfriend down a flight of stairs after an argument.) and current Pacers’ G Brandon Rush (Suspended for five games by failing NBA drug policy for testing positive for marijuana for the third time.) have put a damper on the effects of the four-team trade earlier in the summer; however, the Pacers remain confident in their future.
There has been much speculation by local media that F Tyler Hansbrough has overcome much of his symptoms related to an ear infection last season and will be available for training camp.
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