Herb Simon takes over sole ownership of Pacers

September 17, 2009
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Yesterday, Indiana Pacers President Jim Morris told me Mel Simon “is the most important man in the history of the Indiana Pacers.” No one would refute that.

But just as surely, Mel’s younger brother, Herb, 74, is now the most important person in the team’s future.

In the last two years, Herb has taken a hands-on role in turning around the Indiana Pacers and fortifying the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. Morris confirmed yesterday that not only is Herb Simon the chairman and chief executive of Pacers Sports & Entertainment, he is also the operation’s sole owner.

Though Morris wouldn’t divulge details, it must be assumed Herb quietly purchased Mel’s shares in the team within the last year. Mel’s health failed over the last year as he battled pancreatic cancer. Mel was listed as co-owner in the 2008-09 media guide.

No one wants to be insensitive at the time of a person’s death, especially when that person has done as much for this community as Mel Simon. But for years, I’ve wondered about the Simons’ estate planning when it comes to the Pacers and what that will mean to the long-term future of the franchise in Indianapolis. Now, we have our answer—or at least part of it.

This development would appear to mean that the future of the franchise resides not only with Herb, but with his children. Mel’s children, including Simon Property Group CEO David Simon’s future in the franchise is unclear, but it would appear it would be a lesser role than Herb’s children.

Herb Simon has only said that the Pacers will most certainly stay within the Simon family and has promised that the blue and gold will play in the Circle City for many years to come.

So now we can give thanks for all that Mel Simon has done in years past—and to the commitment his younger brother has made to our future.

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  • Mel Simon's list of good deeds for Indy over the years would be too long to list here, but as a kid growing up watching Pacers in Coliseum w/ my Dad, I was sure as heck glad to see the Simons rescue them and then proceed to invest in making it a competitive team and fun to watch! Besied that, the Simons always went with their heart and supported PROGRESSIVE causes in this city and country when so many Hoosiers seem to enjoy being stuck in the regressive politics/ culture of the Midwest in the 50s...they didn't care if people didn't agree with their politics because they were people of integrity and din't need to put on a phony face to go along with the status quo! If only many others in Indy could learn from the example set by Mel Simon...rest in peace, well done thou faithful and humble servant!
  • As a 5-1/2 year former employee of Simon Property Group [Then Melvin Simon & Associates], working in the area of architecture and site development planning, I had occasion to meet Melvin Simon only once, and that was in Washington, DC. while attending a ULI conference there in 1991 as part of my graduate studies in New York. I recognized my employer at a pay phone [I know!] in the convention hall with his briefcase standing on the floor next to him. I introduced myself after Mr. Simon finished his call and was delighted that he took the time to chat for a minute and ask me how things were going. I expressed my appreciation to him that the company had accommodated me on a part-time basis at their New Jersey construction site while I completed school. That is the lasting personal impression I will have of one of the giants of our Indianapolis community. Godspeed, Mr. Simon!
  • The Simons mean so much to Indy. Part of that is their estate planning. Too many teams have been sold and some moved because the families cannot pay the estate taxes. It sounds like the Simons had planned for that as well. Their legacy will be a part of Indy for many years to come.
  • Thank you Herb!
    I worked for Herb Simon at the Indiana Pacers for 15 years. I knew throughout the entire time that I was working for the best person I would ever work in my entire life. He took care of a lot of people, me being one of them. The one thing that Herb deserves is a championship ring. Necause, it has not been about the money for him. He paid a lot of people a lot of money to put them into the position to win the ring. I ust admit that I felt at times that some of the people he helped make millionaires would not deliver the ring. But, the reality is simply that Herb gave them all they needed to get the coveted championship. They suffered no no shortfall. Instead, they sufferred fromtheir own shortcomings, still Hertb gave them the chance. Simply put, Her Simon is the best owner of all time in the NBA. I will debate that until my death and then some. I sttill believe that Herb will win a championship. God Bless you, Herb.

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