HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Pacers fans with designs on another Hoosier legend returning home to help continue the revitalization of the franchise are holding out hope that Reggie Miller will do the honors.
Whether or not the legendary Pacers sharpshooter and current TNT analyst is headed back to Indianapolis as a general manager or in another front office capacity remains to be seen. Miller addressed the situation this afternoon in a statement given to NBA.com, leaving the door open for a possible return to the franchise, city and state he called home during his storied 18-year NBA career:
“After playing my entire 18-year career and spending the better part of my adult life affiliated with the Pacers; I’m honored to be mentioned as someone Mr. Simon, whom I respect a great deal, would consider for such an important role within the organization. I have had no formal discussions or meetings at this time with Mr. Simon or Pacers management.”
A Yahoo! Sports report last week suggested that Miller would be one of the candidates Pacers owner Herb Simon would pursue to replace Larry Bird as head of the Pacers’ basketball operations.
Miller played under Bird when the Pacers reached the NBA Finals in 2000. Bird was in the Pacers’ front office when Miller’s playing career ended five years later, so there is a connection. The idea of Miller and Bird working side by side is not far-fetched.
Bird did tell the Boston Globe in June that he was ready to clear out his office but came back as a favor to Simon. He later told the Indianapolis Star that he was taking things “one year at a time.”
The notion of yet another Indiana hoops legends coming back to the fold was not lost on Pacers fans, who voiced plenty of opinions about the prospect of Miller coming back “home”. The Pacers have been down this road before. They hired both Bird and Isiah Thomas to coach the team without previous coaching experience in the league, or anywhere else for that matter.
Having lived in Indianapolis, covering Miller during the twilight of his Pacers career, I can attest to the energy the arrival an icon of his ilk could have on the Pacers’ fan base.
And if I’m reading his statement correctly, Miller didn’t say he would never entertain the idea of returning to the Pacers. He only said that these rumors of an imminent return are just that, rumors.