Mike and a bunch of the kids got a real treat the other night. They went to watch the Pacers play the Chicago Bulls, and before the game they were able to hang out down on the floor and watch the players warm up.
They also got to meet some bona fide Indiana legends. Here they are with Quinn Buckner. He has been a champion at every level. He led his high school team to two state championships. He was a star of the legendary 1976 undefeated IU team that won the NCAA championship. And he won an NBA title with Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics in 1984. He retired an Indiana Pacer.
Here is Cokie with Bill Benner, former sportswriter with the Indianapolis Star and now Senior VP with the Pacers.
Darnell Hillman autographed Cokie's jersey before the game. He was a star for the Pacers back in the 1970s and was known as "Dr. Dunk." Legend has it he could jump so high that a quarter could be placed on the top of the backboard and he would jump up, take the quarter and leave in its place two dimes and a nickel. A reporter once asked him if it was true he could pick a quarter from the top of the backboard, and Darnell told him to put a $100 bill up there and find out. The reporter decided not to take his chances.
Another Indiana legend that most people have never heard of. Donnie Walsh. Walsh is the former president of the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks. He still works for the Pacers as an advisor. He built the legendary teams that Reggie Miller led during the 90s and is considered by many to be one of the greatest minds in the history of the game.
Some legends in the making?
The one current Pacer who looks like he has the best shot at earning the right to be called a legend someday is Paul George. He was ejected from the game in the third quarter for kicking a ball after getting called for a foul. Unfortunately, his kick sent the ball into the stands and it hit a female TV crew member in the face. Before leaving the arena, he went up into the stands and gave the young lady a hug. He also sent her flowers the next day with a nice note. While kicking the ball may have been some bad sportsmanship, the class he showed after getting ejected is the stuff legends should be made of!
Cokie's sign made it on the big screen during the game. Shepard got some real face time and Pryor and Bret sort of made the cut.
No trip to Bankers Life Fieldhouse (that's where the Pacers play) is complete for us without visiting Cokie's water fountain. If you're there, take a left after you walk up the stairs from the huge foyer and enter the arena. Cokie's picture is on the wall above the first water fountain to your left!
And where was I while Mike and the kids were having all this fun? I enjoyed a quiet evening at home. Just me and my frappuccino. That was a rare treat as well.