Win or Lose The Pacers Have Already Exceeded Expectations

It sure hurts to miss on a big swing. A few weeks ago I proclaimed NBA Playoff evolution at the hands of the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies. At the foothill of the Finals, those teams are nowhere to be found. Valiant efforts, but perhaps not worth the knee-jerk praise. All the while, the Indiana Pacers were quietly heading towards a grudge match against the Miami Heat . The Pacers knew something that I did not; they were ready for Miami. Six games later, the Indiana Pacers threaten do something no team in the East has been able to do in twenty-four months, keep the Heat out of the Finals.

The Pacers are actually proving me wrong on another front. A few blogs ago I effectively ruled out any team in the East as a true threat to the Heat. I’d rather not spend time breaking down how so many of us missed on the Pacers. Similarly, I won’t drag Miami into another deep rooted analysis. Instead, let’s focus on what a Finals appearance could do for the Indiana Pacers logo.

Throughout the Pacers better years, they symbolized hard-working, team basketball. The Reggie Miller/Larry Brown/Donnie Walsh/Larry Bird era culminated in a 2000 Finals loss. Along the way there were many highs (sorry New York Knicks and Spike Lee) and few lows. That is, of course, until the “Malice at the Palace”. Since that promising group threw the sports world for a loop, the Pacers have been building toward this moment to little national fanfare.

The Pacers now face a Game 7 that, in all fairness, is just another game for the Heat. Geniuses like me have prematurely written off the Heat before these games too many times. Fortunately for the Pacers, this isn’t just another game. These Pacers resemble what their logo has represented during the best years. Defense, team scoring, workman-like attitudes; all the qualities you’d expect from a classic Pacers lineup. Indiana believes they can win Game 7 in Miami. Hibbert, George(s) and company are giving the world something to look forward to.

We all benefit from Game 7, no matter the outcome (don’t tell David Stern). If Indiana wins, the Heat are extinguished and two true basketball teams faceoff for the trophy. If Miami holds serve, we look to a bright future for Indiana, and the very similar Spurs take their shot. At worst, the Pacers logo continues to embody the best aspects of team basketball. Maybe, after Game 7, these traits can be honored under the bright lights of the Finals.

The Midwest is offering up some great basketball right now. Luckily, the Indiana Pacers aren’t the only team in the region with a historic logo. The Decorah Trolls boast a pleasant emblem for you to wear any time of the day. The Trolls reside in Iowa, but their legacy comes from Norwegian culture. Not to mention, that Troll is pretty cool. You can own the pride of Decorah on your very own awesome t-shirt.

Thanks as always for reading and enjoy Game 7.
Jake Springer