This season will be Indiana’s 50th, and we commemorate the team’s history with this countdown of the 50 Greatest Pacers. Here, we look back on the good, the bad and the many dramatic moments brought to us by the state’s greatest pastime.
No. 40 -- Rick Mount (1970-1972)
POS: SG PPG: 10.8 AST: 2.4 3P%: 30.9
He is among the most decorated Hoosiers in the state’s rich basketball history, shooting his way into hardwood lore at Lebanon High School, Purdue and with the Pacers. Mount was selected by Indiana with the first pick in 1970 ABA draft. Using the recently created 3-point line to his advantage, Mount’s long-range capabilities helped the team to its second title in 1972.
HIGH SCHOOL HISTORY: Mount was the first high school player to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, displaying his impeccable flattop on February 14, 1966.
No. 39 -- Adrian Dantley (1977)
POS: SF PPG: 26.5 REB: 9.4 AST: 2.8 STL: 2.1
Dantley did many notable things during his lengthy NBA career, earning Rookie of the Year in 1977 and playing in six All-Star games. However, he never achieved such heights as a Pacer. Dantley played just 23 games before being shipped to the Lakers in a midseason trade.
RAMBLIN’ MAN: Dantley was the first Rookie of the Year to be traded the following season after receiving the award, and played on four teams during his first four years in the league.
No. 38 -- Gus Johnson (1972-1973)
POS: SF PPG: 6.0 REB: 4.9 FG%: 44.1
Johnson came to Indy a battered and aged version of his former self. Though he averaged a double-double for eight consecutive seasons with the Baltimore Bullets, a then-34-year-old Johnson played a limited role off the bench for a Pacers team that won its third and final ABA title.
SHORT STAY: Johnson played 631 games during his basketball career, but played in just 50 games for the Pacers -- the only ABA team he ever played for.
No. 37 -- Alex English (1978-1980)
POS: SF PPG: 15.6 REB: 7.7 AST: 3.1 FG%: 50.8
English signed with the Pacers during one of the franchise’s least glamorous eras. The team made just two postseason appearances between 1976 and 1989, and English's two years in Indy didn't ease the misery. Though he possessed speed and athleticism, they were maximized after a trade to Denver -- where he led the league in scoring in 1983 and made eight All-Star appearances.
ONE-SIDED TRADE: English was traded from to Denver in 1980 for George McGinnis. Though McGinnis was once a premier player for the Pacers, his best years were behind him. McGinnis was out of the league by 1982 while English was entering his prime.
No. 36 -- Al Harrington (1999-2004, 2007)
POS: PF PPG: 10.7 REB: 5.4 FG% 45.1 3P%: 33.8
Drafted out of high school in 1998, Baby Al spent his first three years adjusting to the pace and tenacity of the NBA while playing a minimal role on a veteran team. He developed into a mature and promising player, placing second in voting for the Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2004.
NUTHIN BUT A NUMBER: Harrington wore the number 3 during his initial six-year stint with the Pacers, and changed his number to 32 upon returning in 2007. About the number change, Al reportedly said, “It’s number three, and it’s my second time around.”
No. 35 -- Quinn Buckner (1985-1986)
POS: PG PPG: 3.7 AST: 2.7 FG% 47.1
Buckner’s 10-year career was built on defense. The former IU standout earned Second Team All-Defensive honors in four consecutive seasons (1977-1982). Buckner has been a color commentator for Pacers TV broadcasts since 1998, where his many catchphrases (“SMOTHERED CHICKEN!”) have become part of the local lexicon.
THE TRIPLE CROWN: Buckner is one of seven players to win a championship at the collegiate, professional and Olympic levels. He helped IU and Team USA to championships in 1976 and was a member of the 1984 NBA champion Boston Celtics.
No. 34 -- Jamaal Tinsley (2001-2009)
POS: PG PPG: 10.4 AST: 7.0 REB: 3.4 STL: 1.7
“Remember Jamaal Tinsley?” you say. “Yeah, he’s one of the best point guards in Pacers history,” your buddy replies. “Mmhmm,” you respond. “Only thing is, it’s tough to recall his on-the-court moments. Wasn’t he involved in a drive-by shooting and told to stay away from the team?” “Yup,” your buddy says. “He was a bad egg. Pity.”
FIVE BY FIVE: Tinsley posted the NBA’s ninth five-by-five game in 2001 during a 120-113 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tinsley finished with 12 points, 15 assists, 9 rebounds, 6 steals and 5 blocks.
No. 33 -- Steve Stipanovich (1983-1988)
POS: C PPG: 13.2 REB: 7.8 BLK: 0.9 FG%: 48.4
Stipanovich was gifted a formidable 6-foot-11, 245 pound frame, but was cursed with degenerative knee issues that forced him into retirement at 28. He spent the duration of his career with the Pacers, fighting constant knee pain and multiple surgeries to post double-digit scoring averages in each of his five seasons.
BAD AIM: Stipanovich accidentally shot himself in the left shoulder while he was a sophomore at Missouri. Embarrassed about the ordeal, he fabricated a story in which an armed intruder broke into his apartment and injured him.
No. 32 -- Austin Croshere (1997-2006)
POS: PF PPG: 7.5 REB: 4.3 3P%: 34.3
Croshere entered the league as a primordial stretch four during an era when most big men earned their cash on the low block. The Providence grad peaked from 1999-01, scoring 10.2 points per game and helping push the team to the 2000 NBA Finals.
SAME TEAM, NEW ROLE: Upon retirement, Croshere joined the Pacers broadcast team, serving as a color commentator for select games. Croshere has since joined Fox Sports as a college basketball analyst.
No. 31 -- Wayman Tisdale (1985-1989)
POS: PF PPG: 15.2 REB: 6.4 FG%: 51.2
Tisdale is one of the most charismatic Pacers to ever grace the court. His outgoing and upbeat disposition matched his energetic and thundering style of play. He was money at the rim and one of the most efficient post threats to ever play in Indy.
JAZZ MAN: Aside from his abilities on the hardwood, Tisdale was a successful musician, playing bass and releasing several jazz albums. His 2001 release, “Face to Face” went No. 1 on the Billboard contemporary jazz chart.