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Founded in 1967 as part of the American Basketball Association, the Indiana Pacers have a history that’s about as storied as the sport itself. Since the team’s inception, they’ve won 9 division titles, 1 conference championship, and 3 league titles, though those only occured before the team became an official member of the NBA. Over the years, the Indianapolis-based team has had notable players and coaches such as George McGinnis, Chris Mullin, Reggie Miller, Larry Bird, and Nate McMillan. After a few years of decline, the Pacers have been working their way back up the conference, and fans flock to get tickets to watch them take on their rivals at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Beginning in 1967 as one of the original teams of the American Basketball Association, the Indiana Pacers took their name from the state’s long tradition with the pace cars of the Indianapolis 500. Their early years made them the most successful team in ABA history, with 3 league championships between 1970 and 1973. However, following the ABA’s merger with the NBA in 1976, the team fell into a period of hardship marked by 12 losing seasons in 17 years. They appeared in the NBA Playoffs 6 times during this era but failed to make it past the first round.
Beginning in 1993, the team had their most successful period since the 1970s, thanks in large part to addition of soon-to-be All-Star Reggie Miller. Playing the entirety of his 18-year career with the team, Miller helped lead the Pacers to 4 division titles and the Eastern Conference championship for the 1999–2000 season. Unfortunately, despite the signing of great players like Danny Granger, Miller’s retirement in 2005—along with the loss of All-Star Ron Artest to the Sacramento Kings—led the Pacers into another slump marked by 4 straight years of failing to make the playoffs.
Things began to take a turn for the better once again in 2010 when the Pacers selected rookie Paul George during the NBA draft. The team returned to the playoffs 6 times in the next 7 years, and even took Central Division titles in 2013 and ‘14. Today, under Head Coach Nate McMillan, the team has said goodbye to George but welcomed star players like Victor Oladipo, Bojan Bogdanović, Darren Collison, Cory Joseph, and T.J. Leaf. Grab tickets to watch them fight to regain their place at the top as they battle rivals like New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, and Miami Heat.