The Indiana Pacers basketball team is a professional basketball team and part of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team is based in Indianapolis, Indiana and they play in the Eastern Conference of the NBA as a member of the Central Division. Pacer home games are played at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
The Pacers were first established in 1967 when the team became part of the American Basketball Association (ABA). During their time in the ABA the Pacers won three ABA Championships. They joined the NBA in 1976 as part of the merger between the NBA and ABA.
Since joining the NBA, the Pacers have yet to win an NBA championship. They have, however, won a total of 6 division titles and 1 Eastern Conference title in 2000. They faced the Los Angeles Lakers for the championship that season but lost in 6 games.
The 2003-04 season under Coach Rick Carlisle was another breakthrough season for the team as they posted a league best 61-21 record as well as a franchise record. They managed to win the first two rounds in the playoffs but ended up losing in the conference finals to the eventual NBA champion Detroit Pistons.
The following season brought one of the most infamous events in NBA history. During a game in Detroit against the Pistons on November 19th, 2005 a brawl broke out between players and fans and has been referred to as the “Malice at the Palace”. Several key Indiana players including Ron Artest, Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal were suspended for long periods of time derailing their season. The team never returned to championship contending status.
There have been many great players who have played for the Pacers over the years. The most famous may be Reggie Miller. Miller was a tremendous shooter and scorer and helped the team not only with his scoring but his enthusiasm for the game. He played his entire 18 season NBA career with the Pacers, retiring in 2005.
There are 5 players who are currently in the Basketball Hall of Fame who have played for the Pacers. In addition to Miller, the list includes Chris Mullin, Alex English, Mel Daniels and Roger Brown.
In addition, Larry Bird, an Indiana native and Hall of Fame player with the Boston Celtics, returned to his home state and took over as Head Coach in the 1997-98 season. He continued as coach until 2000. Bird was named team president in 2013, a title he holds to this day.
Other Head Coaches in Pacers history include the likes of Larry Brown (1993-97), Isaiah Thomas (2000-03), Rick Carlisle (2003-07) and current Head Coach Frank Vogel (2011-present).
The 2015-16 version of the Pacers features All-Star Paul George and guards Monta Ellis and George Hill. They are in the running for a playoff spot and are currently in the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference.