Simon puts prints on Pacers

August 6, 2008
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herbsimonHerb Simon’s proclamation yesterday that Indiana Pacers’ point guard Jamaal Tinsley must go, raised a few eyebrows here in the Hoosier Heartland. Just a few months ago, you couldn’t get the team’s co-owner to say peep. For years, Herb and his brother Mel have operated way, way behind the scenes.

But shortly after last season ended, Herb stepped out from behind the current to proclaim he would be taking a new “hands-on” approach to ownership. There’s still been no word from Mel, who at last account owned half the team.

Meanwhile, Herb has embarked on a months-long initiative to rub elbows with local media outlets, corporate sponsors and other community leaders. His effort to connect in a deeper way with the community has been widely lauded.

But when an owner starts making public comments about players’ on-court abilities and trade market value, one wonders if he isn’t treading too heavily on the turf of the man he hired to handle player personnel, in this case Larry Bird.

His statements about Tinsley make you wonder if Simon is going down a path traveled by the likes of George Steinbrenner, Al Davis, Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones. One interesting indication will be where he decides to sit during games. If Simon trades in his sky-high luxury suite seat for a courtside perch, it becomes a very short walk to getting into Bird’s or Coach Jim O’Brien’s ear about player rotation and play calling. Let’s hope we don’t see Simon wearing a Pacers jersey or screaming at refs anytime soon.

  • Herb just wants to get away from his liberal wife for awhile. Let him enjoy his freedom and throw his weight around a little. The Pacers cannot do any worse. Save your money Herb and pick up a good free agent in a few years. Then we can maybe turn this disaster around.
  • I'm a long-time season ticket holder near where Larry Bird sits. I frequently see Herb sitting next to Larry during the games. Since the Fieldhouse was built, it was either Walsh, Bird or Simon sitting together. Even Mel would sit with them a few years ago.
  • All those owner's franchises are extremly successful so I hope he wants to stake his own happiness with the success of the team like the others seem to do.
  • To Todd: You are confusing Herb's wife with Mel's wife, Bren. Bren is the one involved in politics.

    Todd from the eastside is correct in that Herb very rarely sat in the Simon suite and when in town preferred to sit next to Donnie Walsh in the first row of the northeast corner of the arena. On the other hand, Mel, who is much more private, would sit in the suite.

    As far as Herb becoming an owner like those mentioned, I doubt it. Just because he has made a comment about Jamaal being traded doesn't mean he hasn't consulted with Larry beforehand. If you remember, Larry as been saying the same thing for a while!
  • Come on, drawing comparisons to Steinbrenner and Jerry Jones is ridiculous. The guy owns a team and it's a huge investment (even for the Simon's). The franchise has taken a hit from a PR perspective based on the actions of some of the players. I am more inclined to support them, even if they are the worst team in the league, as long as they behave as good role models to my kids. Anyone who disputes the value of a team of role models versus thugs either doesn't have kids or isn't paying for tickets on a regular basis.
  • I think it's refreshing to hear Mr Simon make a strong statement. This doesnt contradict anything that hasnt been said earlier by Mr Bird, so I also like the appearance of unity. The Pacers have a common direction and focus. The Pacers may not win a championship next year, but as the ticket buying public, we know what the team is about.

    The public comments about players merely reiterate Mr. Bird and Mr. O'Brien's comments, so this is no big deal.
  • Hmmm, if the ticket buying public knows what the team is about, why are season tickets sales down from this point last year. Way down!
  • Maybe it's the economy?
  • Yes, it's the economy. That's why the Colts have sold out all their seating and sponsorship inventory too ... it's the economy. Oh, and the economy is also pushing the Indianapolis Indians' attendance up this year as well. It's definitely the economy.

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