Indiana Pacers

Indiana Pacers

Basketball Team
Indiana Pacers

1910 Indiana

The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The team was founded in 1967 as a member of the American Basketball Association (ABA) and joined the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1976 after the ABA-NBA merger.

The Pacers' name refers to the state's rich history with harness racing, as the Pacers were named after the harness race pace car. The team's original colors were red, white, and blue, reflecting the colors of the state flag.

In their inaugural season, the Pacers finished with a record of 36-46 and missed the playoffs. However, the following year, led by ABA MVP Roger Brown and rookie of the year Mel Daniels, the team finished with a league-best record of 55-29 and advanced to the ABA Finals, where they lost to the New York Nets in six games.

In the 1970s, the Pacers became one of the dominant teams in the ABA, led by players such as George McGinnis, Darnell Hillman, and Bob Netolicky. In 1972, the team won their first ABA championship, defeating the New York Nets in six games. They would go on to win two more championships in the ABA, in 1973 and 1975, both against the Kentucky Colonels.

After the ABA-NBA merger in 1976, the Pacers joined the NBA and continued their success, reaching the playoffs in their first five seasons in the league. In 1981, led by Reggie Miller, the team advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals but lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in seven games.

In the 1990s, the Pacers struggled to find success in the NBA, missing the playoffs in four of the decade's ten seasons. However, in 1994, the team drafted future Hall of Famer and Indiana native, forward, and center, Jermaine O'Neal. In the late 1990s, the team acquired center Rik Smits and point guard Mark Jackson, and with Miller leading the way, the Pacers returned to the playoffs in 1998.

The team continued to improve in the early 2000s, with the addition of forward Ron Artest and guard Jamaal Tinsley. In 2003, the Pacers made their first NBA Finals appearance, but lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

The team faced controversy in the early 2010s, with the infamous "Malice at the Palace" brawl between the Pacers and the Detroit Pistons in 2004, which led to Artest being suspended for the remainder of the season. Despite the controversy, the Pacers continued to be a playoff contender, led by All-Star players such as Paul George and Roy Hibbert.

In 2013, the team returned to the Eastern Conference Finals, but lost to the eventual NBA champions, the Miami Heat. In 2014, the Pacers made a trip back to the Eastern Conference Finals, but were again defeated by the Heat.

In recent years, the Pacers have continued to compete in the NBA, with players such as Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner leading the team. The team has also seen the return of former player and current team president, Larry Bird.

Throughout their history, the Pacers have been known for their strong defense and tough play, earning the nickname "The Pacers of Old." The team has won three ABA championships and advanced to the NBA Finals once. The Pacers continue to compete in the NBA and strive for success in the league.