For the Indiana Pacers, Tuesday’s win was an important one. They gain a game in their quest for top seed in the playoffs, and also a measure of confidence against the reigning champions. ESPN, NBA TV and pretty much everyone else with a monetary stake in the NBA is dubbing this a rivalry. LeBron shrugs that off as nonsense, and he’s right.
I grew up in Indiana, in the heyday of Reggie Miller. And let me tell you, we Pacers fans thought we had us some rivalries. Thing is we didn’t, and we didn’t because Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant (with a lot of help from Shaq) never let it become that. You see, the Pacers never actually beat any of the teams they wanted to be considered rivals against. Even though the Pacers played the Bulls tough, Michael never let them get over the hump. A rivalry was never allowed to be born.
These teams don’t have a historical rivalry to rekindle, like the Heat had with the Knicks or more recently the Celtics. These teams really don’t have a current rivalry since the Pacers have never actually beaten the Heat when it really mattered. Actually the Pacers rivalry should be with the Bulls, they’re in the same division and they have a geographical closeness. But no, Mike said no.
In the end, the Pacers, with their zero that’s 0 NBA championships, have always been and still are the little-brother wannabes of NBA royalty. It’s the Heat’s job to keep them there.
As someone who spent the first half of his life in Indiana and the latest half in Florida, I wanted to give a quick comparison of the states, the cities and the teams.
Florida – The Sunshine State; bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico; South Beach, Key West, Disney World and St. Augustine; Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry, Elmore Leonard and Ernest Hemingway.
Indiana – The ‘wtf is there anything to look at but corn’ state (actually ‘Crossroads of America’); no major waterways; Indianapolis, Gary (once proud to call itself the murder capital of America); Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
And of course, it’s Florida for the WIN. I didn’t even mention Florida is the tourist capital of America (maybe the world), while Indiana is mostly a bypass between the north and south.
Now, for the cities:
Miami – South Beach, Biscayne Bay, Coral Gables; current temperature 81 degrees; arguably the most beautiful women in America; five star steakhouses, fresh seafood, Joe’s Stone Crab; Art Basil, Jungle Island, Lion Country Safari, Everglades National Park.
Indianapolis – Broad Ripple, Speedway; current temperature 27 degrees (but feels like 18); as far as women go, my mother thought I was gay when I was growing up because the women were SO unattractive that I couldn’t be bothered with them; St. Elmo’s Steakhouse (famous for putting horseradish in their cocktail sauce); the Indianapolis 500 – which was great until that douche bag Tony George screwed it all up.
Miami Heat – LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Shaquille O’Neill; Three NBA Championships; defending NBA champions
Indiana Pacers – Paul George, Roy Hibbert, Reggie Miller, George McGinnis; ZERO NBA championships; defending Central Division champion.
As you can see, there’s GOOD DAMN REASON that Indiana and their Pacers should be thought of the pretender little brother, not contenders to the throne.