On Saturday night, I went to a show at the Phoenix Theater downtown. Throughout the two-hour production, a woman in her 50s in front of me consistently checked her phone for updates from the Pacers/Bulls game, which ended up being their first loss of the season.
After the brawl in Detroit and the idiot festival that ensued thereafter, it’s great to see Indy re-engaged with the Pacers, who put the city on the national sports stage for the first time in the 1990s. It deserves a winner, and this team is easy to like.
Paul George is an MVP candidate. Hibbert has improved at a meteoric rate. David West is an absolute beast. Lance Stephenson has channeled his raw emotion and talent remarkably well. George Hill is the hard-working hometown kid made good. The bench is skilled and motivated.
The Pacers might never have a rivalry like that with the Knicks back in the day, but Miami and Chicago are suitable villains. Hate takes time to build, and can only be forged through playoff drama. It was present in Pacers/Knicks, and Colts/Patriots. If the team and the city are to truly become one again, that hate for an enemy is necessary.
The Miller and Peyton Manning eras did overlap, but only in a couple of years were both teams title contenders at the same time. With George and Andrew Luck now leading the way, we could be entering a Golden Age of Indy pro sports.
One thing is certain — the Pacers are back, as are longtime fans like myself, who turned into hardened cynics and took their money elsewhere for a decade.
Reunited, and it feels so good.
— Brent Glasgow is a sports writer for the Hendricks County Flyer. He may be reached by e-mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 272-5800 ext. 173. Follow him on Twitter @Bglasgow37.