Hall of Famers
125 S. Pennsylvania St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
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The Indiana Pacers are a professional basketball team that plays in the National Basketball Association (NBA). The team is based in the state's capital and largest city, Indianapolis, Indiana, located in the center of the state. The Indiana Fever of the WNBA, also owned by Melvin & Herb Simon, are the Pacers' sister team and play at Conseco Fieldhouse as well. The Indiana Pacers also have 2 mascots at every home game, Boomer and Bowser, who also appear often for the NBA.
In early 1967, a group of six investors (among them attorney Richard Tinkham, sports agent Chuck Barnes and Indianapolis Star sports writer Bob Collins) pooled their resources to purchase a franchise in the proposed American Basketball Association.
According to Indianapolis attorney Richard Tinkham, the nickname "Pacers" was decided on through a collective decision of the original investors. Tinkham, one of those investors, recalled that the nickname was a combination of the state's rich history with the harness racing pacers and the pace car used for the running of the Indianapolis 500. Investor Chuck Barnes was a horse racing enthusiast in addition to being business manager of Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Rodger Ward. Barnes' wife, Lois, suggested the name over dinner.
Tinkham said the "Pacers" decision was an easy one, but the real debate was whether the team should be called the Indiana Pacers or the Indianapolis Pacers. Since one of the original ideas for the team was to have it playing throughout the state with its base in Indianapolis, the official team name became the Indiana Pacers.For their first seven years, they played in the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum, now called the Pepsi Coliseum. In 1974, they moved to the plush new Market Square Arena in downtown Indianapolis, where they stayed for 25 years.
Early in the Pacers' second season, former Indiana Hoosiers standout Bob "Slick" Leonard became the team's head coach, replacing Larry Staverman. Leonard quickly turned the Pacers into a juggernaut. His teams were buoyed by the great play of superstars such as Jimmy Rayl, Mel Daniels, George McGinnis, Bob Netolicky, Rick Mount and Roger Brown. The Pacers were the most successful team in ABA history, winning three ABA Championships in four years. In all, they appeared in the ABA Finals five times in the league's nine year history.
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