Sunday, January 14, 2007

Looking Back on 40 Years with the Pacers

The Pacers are celebrating their 40th season as a franchise. Mark Montieth looks at 40 significant moments in the Pacers history, from their roots in the ABA through the modern day NBA. There are several interesting tidbits from the past, including the fact that no one knows who scored the first basket in franchise history.
Bob Netolicky, Roger Brown, Oliver Darden, Freddie Lewis and Jim Dawson were the starters when the Pacers first took the court against the Kentucky Colonels on Oct. 14, 1967. All but Dawson have been asked, but none remembered. The statistical crew did not keep detailed play-by-play records at the time, and the newspaper accounts did not mention it.
If you can help us solve the mystery, let us know.
Looking the the event timeline, it's obvious what a different world the NBA was during the pre-Bird, Magic 1970's. After joining the NBA in 1976, the Pacers would do about anything for publicity to keep the franchise afloat.

July 3, 1977
WTTV-4 conducts a telethon in the 500 Ballroom of the Indiana Convention Center to "save" the franchise, which is struggling on the court and at the gate. The event helps sell 8,000 season tickets.

Sept. 12, 1979
The Pacers release Ann Meyers, who still ranks as the only woman to try out for an NBA team. Meyers, one of the greatest women players of her era, was brought in on orders from owner Sam Nassi, who believed she had a chance to make the team.

Can you imagine today's Pacers holding a benefit telethon FOR THEMSELVES? With a $70 million payroll, I don't think they'd get too many calls.

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