What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions

Open Letter To Indiana Pacers Fans: Time For A Hefty Dose Of Reality

While I’m not originally from the Hoosier State, I currently live there.   If you’ve been a regular of this blog, it’s no secret I have little but scorn and derision for Indianapolis Colts fans.  I’ve also written some very unkind, yet very true things about Notre Dame.  Until today, I’ve had little on which to opine about the supporters of the Indiana Pacers.

But over the past week, I’ve done nothing but listen to Pacers fans prove they may very well be as dumb as those of the Indianapolis Colts, because of their incessant bitching about the Paul George trade. Not only do they not like the deal, they are saying things that lead me to believe they really don’t understand what this is about. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t about the Pacers losing their star player; the whining about that is just a symptom of the real problem, which is…

The Pacers have no “real” fans.

There are cities in this country that have a reputation for having a fan base that only shows up when the team wins.  You can include Indianapolis on that list.  Nobody in the “Circle City” gave a shit about the Colts before the Peyton Manning era; and they are one 5-11 season from going back to those days.  There was a time when Indy was awash in fans resplendent in their Pacer gear… then Reggie Miller retired.   To see that decline in “fandom” with the Pacers, simply their home attendance figures from the waning years of the Reggie Miller era until now against the team’s won-loss record.

  • 2017: 22nd (42-40)
  • 2016: 21st (45-37)
  • 2015: 22nd (38-44)
  • 2014: 15th (56-26)
  • 2013: 25th (49-32)
  • 2012: 29th (42-24) – strike-shortened season
  • 2011: 30th (37-45) – Paul George’s first season
  • 2010: 27th (32-50)
  • 2009: 28th (36-46)
  • 2008: 30th (36-46)
  • 2007: 28th (35-47)
  • 2006: 24th (41-41)
  • 2005: 17th (44-38) – Reggie Miller’s last season
  • 2004: 16th (61-21)
  • 2003: 15th (48-34)
  • 2002: 16th (42-40)
  • 2001: 10th (41-41)

Think about it.  Basketball is the national sport of Indiana; there’s a reason the Pacers broke out those “Hickory” uniforms from the movie “Hoosiers.”  You would think that an NBA franchise in the Hoosier state would have a dedicated fan base, but they don’t.  Instead, the Pacers have the classic “fair-weather” fan problem.

Right now, there’s a guy out there getting ready to sharpen his electronic crayon to tell me he doesn’t go to Pacer games because the they don’t put a competitive team on the floor.  Don’t be that guy, because he’s exactly who I’m talking about. That guy is not a “real” fan. Real fans show up. Real fans fly their colors. Real fans can express their displeasure, real fans can bitch and moan as much they can celebrate, but when push comes to shove, real fans don’t abandon their teams.

For comparison, here’s a homework assignment for you, Mr. Crayon Sharpener.  Do the same numbers comparison with the Utah Jazz I did with the Pacers; home attendance cross-referenced against the team’s win-loss record.  What you will discover is both the Jazz and the Pacers have essentially the same level of mediocrity over the same period of time, but the attendance number couldn’t be more different.

Utah only ranks out of the top ten in home attendance twice, and never end up lower than 12th, and are usually hovering around the 6th or 7th spot in total home attendance, despite the greater Salt Lake City metropolitan area being the 49th market in the country.

Meanwhile, the Indianapolis market is the 33rd largest in the U.S., yet the Pacers finish in the top ten in total home attendance just once, never higher than 10th, 26th or lower five times, and dead last twice.

Here’s the kicker. Not only is Indianapolis a larger market than Salt Lake City by approximately 600,000 people (the equivalent of an entire congressional district), but the Pacers are the closest NBA option for other significantly-sized markets.

  • Cincinnati, OH (population 2.15 million) – 115 miles
  • Louisville, KY (population 1.2 million) –  114 miles
  • Dayton, OH (population 836,000) – 116 miles
  • Lexington, KY (population 507,000) – 190 miles
  • Fort Wayne, IN (population 432,000) – 125 miles
  • Evansville, IN (population 117,000) – 172 miles

The comparison  for Salt Lake City is as stark a comparison as is the home attendance numbers.

  • Boise, ID (population 691,000) – 345 miles
  • Idaho Falls, ID (population 124,000) – 214 miles

That’s a major difference.  In addition to the 1.7 million people in the Indianapolis market, there’s another 5.27 million with in a reasonable driving distance, with the vast majority being within two hours.  Salt Lake City has nothing even remotely close to that.  In fact, the “Kentuckiana” region had enough market appeal area that it was seriously considered as a relocation option for the New Orleans Pelicans when the league owned the team from 2010 to 2012.  You’ll see a three-way sex tape between Rush Limbaugh, Hilary Clinton, and Sasquatch before you’ll hear any realistic talk of an NBA franchise in Boise.

Now, to be fair to Mr. Crayon Sharpener, there is a lot of validity to the claim that  “the Pacers don’t give me a reason to show up.” Like I said, I live in the Pacers’ market.  I see them every night.   I can tell you first-hand that short of a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals a few years back, the Pacers really have been irrelevant on the NBA landscape since the end of the Reggie Miller era.  The attendance numbers bear out that people in Indiana don’t care about the Pacers enough to show up.

That also means that Pacers “fans” didn’t make any noise while team President Larry Bird took an opportunity to create a flagship franchise for this league and turned it into a long march to mediocrity.  This is the part where “real” fans would have been screaming bloody murder.  This begs a question.  If Pacers “fans” don’t show up, and didn’t care when “Larry Legend” butt-fucked that franchise into irrelevance, then why is anybody shocked Paul George wanted to leave?

George’s announcement that he had no intention of staying in Indianapolis was the classic “bitch goddess;” it gave with one hand while it took with the other.  On the one hand, it allowed the Pacers a chance to get something for their departing star; but on the other, it told every potential buyer the Pacers were a “distressed seller.”

That’s why I don’t understand the caterwauling about this trade.  I really don’t know what Pacers fans thought they were going to get for a guy who made it clear he was leaving anyway.  I do know part of the problem is they fell for some CNN-style “fake news:


“Celtics offer on draft night for Paul George, per league source, was 3 first-round picks (not the Nets pick next year or the Lakers/Kings pick) and two starters (Crowder being one).”

Let’s run this one past Carnac the Magnificent.

People actually like Brussels Sprouts. Bruce Jenner is a woman. The Tooth Fairy.  Name three things as fictitious as that reported Celtics/Pacers Paul George trade.

First of all, even if it that deal was real, that was a “draft night” proposal, which is the NBA equivalent of “I Know What Boys Like.”  Second of all, am I the only one who looks that deal and doesn’t have his “too good to be true” alarm tripped?  Three picks and two starters for a guy whose leg was damn near destroyed a few years back? Not to mention, who outside of Boston thinks Jae Crowder is the caliber of player to be the center-piece of a deal like this?

But most importantly, follow your own logic here, Pacers’ fans. You’re bitching about a deal in which Indianapolis got two pretty decent players in a situation where they easily could have received absolutely nothing. So, if you think the deal the Pacers made was idiotic, then why the fuck would you trust them with draft picks? It’s not like they have a shining track record selecting talent…just look at the last ten years.

  • 2017 Round #1, Overall Pick #18, T.J. Leaf, UCLA
  • 2017 Round 3@, Overll Pick #47, Ike Anigbogu, UCLA

To be fair, nobody knows what these guys will become, and there’s no egregious example of a guy they missed on, but just look at the rest of this list.

  • 2016 Round #1, Overall Pick #20, Caris LeVert, Michigan – Traded before ever playing a minute for the Pacers for Thaddeus Young
  • 2016 Round #2, Overall Pick #50, Georges Niang, Iowa State – Currently racking up frequent-flyer miles between Indiana and the D-League
  • 2015 Round #1, Overall Pick #11, Myles Turner, Texas
  • 2015 Round #2, Overall Pick #43, Joseph Young, Oregon
  • 2014 Round #1, No Pick – Traded this pick, along with Gerald Green and Miles Plumlee, to the Phoenix Suns for Luis Scola
  • 2014 Round #2, Overall Pick #57, Louis Labeyrie, France – Somehow, the Pacers got cash out of the New York Knicks for this guy who has yet to set foot on an NBA floor
  • 2013 Round #1, Overall Pick #23, Solomon Hill, Arizona
  • 2013 Round #2, Overall Pick #53, Colton Iverson, Colorado State
  • 2012 Round #1, Overall Pick #26, Miles Plumlee, Duke – Could’ve had Festus Ezeli, Jae Crowder, or Draymond Green
  • 2011 Round #1, Overall Pick #15, Kawhi Leonard, San Diego State – Traded to the Spurs along with the rights to Erazem Lorbek and Dāvis Bertāns for George Hill
  • 2011 Round #2, Overall Pick #42, Dāvis Bertāns, Slovenia Traded as part of the Kawhi Leonard deal
  • 2010 Round #1, Overall Pick #10, Paul George, Fresno State
  • 2010 Round #2, Overall Pick #40, Lance Stephenson, Cincinnati
  • 2010 Round #2, Overall Pick #57, Ryan Reid, Florida State
  • 2009 Round #1, Overall Pick #13, Tyler Hansborough, North Carolina – Could’ve had Jrue Holiday, Jeff Teague, or Taj Gibson
  • 2009 Round #2, Overall Pick #52, A.J. Price, Connecticut
  • 2008 Round #1, Overall Pick #11, Jerryd Bayless, Arizona
  • 2008 Round #2, Overall Pick #41, Nathan Jawai, Australia
  • 2007: No pick as the Pacers #11 Overall pick went to Atlanta to complete the Al Harrington trade, and the #42 pick went to Portland as part of a 2006 draft-night deal to acquire the rights to Cincinnati swingman James White, who was subsequently released.
  • 2006 Round #1, Overall Pick #1, Overall Pick #17, Shawne Williams, Memphis – Could’ve had Rajon Rondo or Kyle Lowry
  • 2006 Round #2, Overall Pick #45, Alexander Johnson, Florida State – Could’ve had Paul Millsap

Just look those highlighted items.  Imagine the team the Pacers could be putting on the floor today if even only a few of those red items had gone differently. I know most of that time was during the President Larry Bird administration, and now that he’s gone, you Pacer fans think things will be different.  We already know you think they won’t they won’t because after all, Bird didn’t make this trade you’re bitching about.

Why would you think for a moment that anything would be any different?  Because you’re Indiana sports fans, that’s why.  You get things wrong constantly.  Every year you think the Colts are going to the Super Bowl, Notre Dame will win a National Championship, and right now a lot of you think IU’s own Kyle “.177” Schwarber is headed for Cooperstown.  You haven’t paid attention to the Pacers since the Reggie Miller days, and now that you have, all you did was give yourself something else to be wrong about.

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What your view of sports would be if you had too many concussions

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This entry was posted on July 10, 2017 by in Basketball, Sports and tagged , , , .

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