There's good reason for Pacers fans to love Knicks

May 6, 2013
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There's a lot for Indiana Pacers fans to like about the New York Knicks. And perhaps even more for the Pacers sales team to like about them.

Few teams have done more over the Pacers' 45-year history to galvanize its fan base than the Knicks. The Kentucky Colonels of the ABA days come to mind, but other than that, the Knicks evoke a rallying cry in Indy like few others.

And fewer teams have helped the team sell more tickets short- and long-term than the Knicks. Sure Chicago Bulls fans flood the Fieldhouse a couple times a year, but the Knicks have done so much more for the Blue and Gold.

Every great team needs a seminal moment or two to grab the fan base by their collective shirt collar and pull them cheering from their seats.

In the 1990s it was Reggie Miller's eight points in nine seconds at Madison Square Garden and the showdown with Spike Lee. It was Dale and Antonio Davis against the rough and tumble Knicks front line, Rik Smits battling Patrick Ewing and chants of Knicks versus Hicks.

Those games and those moments helped the Pacers not only sell out those playoff games but turned Pacers games for years to come into major community events. They also helped rally support for the construction of the $183 million Fieldhouse.

Now we're a decade, a brawl and a public shoot-out removed from the glory days the Knicks helped fuel. With their troubles long behind them, the Pacers have a sleepy fan base that is long overdue for a wake-up call. It's time for this city to become familiar with a new generation of Pacers stars and hometown heroes.

Enter the Knicks. They've got stars (players and fans), the big market, and yes, they still have Spike Lee.

The Pacers, in many eyes, are small town and small time, with no real marquee stars ... yet.  They're underdogs and under appreciated by national hoops pundits. In short, they're right where the Indy hoops fan base seems to love it most.

This series has all the ingredients to unite the Pacers fan base once again and create true demand for Pacers tickets.

While the Pacers said they sold out all three home playoff games against Atlanta, anyone at the 18,165-seat Fieldhouse could see there were between 1,000 and 1,500 empty seats at each of those games.

Game three versus the Knicks on Saturday will be an important gauge of where this team stands with its fans. I don't expect there to be an empty seat in the house. I expect the remainder of the Pacers-Knicks series to be appointment TV viewing for anyone who remotely considers themselves a basketball fan in Indiana. It remains to be seen how this series will affect ticket demand next season.

One thing is certain. A prime opportunity stands before the Pacers franchise, and if they grasp it, and again create some Reggie Miller-like memories in the battles ahead, it could well be a tipping point in terms of the way this city feels about this team, and by extension ticket sales, for next year and beyond.

Indianapolis has a bad reputation for only loving a winner. And maybe that's partly true. But it's worth pointing out that Miller never won an NBA championship, and few athletes are loved here more than he.

I think what this town loves is a team whose sum is greater than its parts. And a team that can play the role of David with nothing more than courage, a sling shot and the willingness to step up and take the big shot. A shot big enough shot to slay a giant, or at least make him stagger.

  • Indy Marquee Star
    Mike Epps has been showing up to games. Maybe he can be Indy's Spike Lee.
  • Pacer Fan
    The Pacers looked great yesterday against the Knicks. Very poised. Paul George is only going to continue to grow as an outstanding player, as will Hibbert. David West is a beast, and who doesn't love the hometown hero, George Hill? Go Pacers!!
  • Please
    Once again the media in this city is going to embarrass us. No one is running around with the "hicks vs Knicks cry but the media in this city. I fully expect the WISHTV and Knox & company running around downtown jumping people begging for complements and asking how they like the city. The bad fan base scoldings are just dumb and don't work. I don't get a letter from Crest when I don't buy their toothpaste anymore. It's just not the brand I spend my money on. Pacers and the media need to drop that BS, before the alienate even more fans. Having grown up during the ABA days,I can attest to the overblown Colonels vs Pacers rivalry is BS.
    • GaryBo
      Hey Gary, hence the organist at Madison Square Garden playing Green Acres for the Pacers. It is not only a local thing.
    • Hey Gary
      I encourage you then, to actually READ or WATCH some of the media coverage that comes out of NYC regarding the Knicks vs. the Pacers. If you think this is simply a local media thing you are completely unaware.

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    1. Again, Maria.... how much are YOU contributing? The man doesn't HAVE to give a red cent! What don't you get about that? And, I know this might actually require some actual "facts", but can you please point me to the parking garage that the city gave to him?

    2. Another internet tuff guy I see. And what would the basis of taking the person to jail? If they were drunk, yea. But if not, there would be no jailable offense. All these gestapo, Nazi, jackboots are running SCARED. When the SHTF in this country who's side are you going to be on? The citzens, or the establishment? Better make up your mind quick because it's not far off. I would rather be trying to make friends than enemies. But no worries my "friend", God will take care of you and your likes in good time. It tells us that in the bible. If you stand, support and help carry out the plans of evil rulers, you will NOT be spared the wrath of God. That simple. All you can do is repent now and ask God to forgive you.

    3. Yes, Ersal, thank you for donating a whole $75,000, while the city gives you a parking garage for free and is going to pay for a multi million dollar stadium for you. I'd be donating money too if I was on welfare.

    4. I live and work in Broad Ripple and agree 100% that the traffic is not a significant problem. It can be slow at some times, but hey...this is an urban area. As for the development itself...HOORAY. Office and retail development brings people during the day, something that our community needs much more of. Thank goodness people are finally waking up to take advantage of the serene White River views. The BRVA land us committee endorsed the project because they know how these kind of projects help offset the cries of "too many bars". Pray that this development, and the proposed major investment by Browning, move forward. And remember Good Earth, these will mean hundreds of daytime people - potential shoppers for your store.

    5. Under current, previous existing law, this new law would be unconstitutional. Not that supposedly having to have a driver's license to drive isn't in the first place.