The Pacer fans under the microscope
I just heard an "opening rant" from ESPN's Colin Cowherd taking Indiana Pacer fans to task for complaining about getting no respect. Cowherd went on to berate Pacer fans for not supporting their team in numbers during the season. I must say at times, he has a point. The rant against the Pacer fans came as part of an overall criticism of Midwest sports fans feeling they aren't as respected as fans on either coast, or down south.
First, Cowherd is right about Pacer fans' support during the regular season. However, there is a reason to the relative lack of support for the Pacers--unless they make a deep playoff run. The reason? Indiana is a great basketball state-- a great AMATEUR basketball state. You ask a true basketball fan, and he will usually have 3 layers of support-- his high school team, his college team, and then after all that is done, the Pacers-- maybe.
Over the years, the Pacers have got the short end of Indiana's basketball shaft. The Blue and Gold-- especially in recent years-- have on the balance, been more good than bad. The Pacers made an NBA Finals in 2000, after years of just missing out in the Eastern Conference Finals. That could have a familiar ring to it-- given the Miami Heat's pre-eminent position. But that Pacer team had Reggie Miller; this team is not made up of great names. However, given the state's rich, deep, and continuing amateur basketball tradition, would it matter if a great name came to Indianapolis? Or would we jdo as we do now-- get on the Pacer bandwagon if they are deemed worthy in our eyes come NBA playoff time?
Pacer fans can have a bit of a bandwagon mentality. That said, regardless of what happens with the Heat Saturday night back in Indianapolis, this has been a great year-- and the start of more to come for the Indiana Pacers. May we squeeze in enough time between high school and college ball to actually see it happen next year.
That's my take...I'm Tom Lee.