An open letter to Larry 

I deserve the Pacers' coaching job

I deserve the Pacers’ coaching job
Dear Larry, I know that right now, you’re intent on hiring your friend Rick Carlisle as the next coach of the Pacers. I can understand that. If I had any jobs to give away, I’d probably want to give them to my friends as well. But before you sign that contract, I’d like you to consider another candidate for that job. It’s someone with a lot of basketball experience, someone who’s been loyal to the Pacers franchise for years and thinks he could do a great job as coach. Me. We’ve never been formally introduced, but I used to ask you questions during pregame press conferences when you were coach, so it’s not like we’re total strangers to each other. Plus, I’ve been going to Pacers games for going on 30 years, so I’m pretty familiar with the team. Plus, I’ve won several championships with the Pacers on the Playstation 2, so I’m experienced with winning the big games. Also, I’ve watched the film Eddie, starring Whoopi Goldberg, several times. That’s why I think I’d make a good coach. I’ve spent so much time drinking beer and watching the Pacers that I probably have seniority on most candidates for the job. When Billy Keller was sinking threes at the Coliseum, I was there. When Clark Kellogg was driving in the lane at Market Square Arena, I was there. And when Reggie was making the Knicks look like fools at the Fieldhouse, I was there. My unique qualification for the job is that, unlike any other person you ask, I will be truthful to you. I like to get drunk and watch basketball. And with the head coaching job, I could do that more effectively than anyone else you’d hire. Currently, I’m limited by my financial wherewithal when it comes to doing this at games. With the budget available to an NBA head coach, I assume I could go for top-shelf liquors such as Crown Royal and Grey Goose. There’d be no need for that nasty Miller Lite stuff. We could make one of the assistant coaches — they don’t really do much, anyway — the chief bartender. And maybe a couple drinks during the game would keep Austin Croshere from complaining too much when I keep his fat ass on the bench. Just a thought. Another area in which I’d excel as coach would be the in-game entertainment. Remember, none of us would be there if it wasn’t for the fans. That’s why I’d supervise every aspect of the fans’ experience. Specifically, I’d make sure we had the best dance team in basketball. The Pacemates are just as much a part of the team as the players, and I’d treat them as such. I would have them practice at the same time as the team, so that we could synchronize the two squads and make them more harmonious. I would also offer myself as a counselor and mentor to them both on and off the court. They would have a standing invitation to join me in my bar/office after practice. As far as basketball operations go, that’s your job. If you want Primoz Brezec to load and unload the players’ luggage, that’s fine with me. If you want Jermaine O’Neal to play 48 minutes a game until he stops whining about Isiah getting fired, that’s your call. If you think he should run laps all day long, again, that’d be up to you. I’d want you to feel comfortable calling all the shots on the floor. You’re the one with the championship rings. If you want to start using the triangle offense, fine with me. If you think Shaq should “accidentally” get tripped during a transition, I won’t say anything to anyone about it. It’d be an awful shame if I spilled a few ice cubes on the floor and Jason Kidd couldn’t implement the fast break, now wouldn’t it? I’d bring back a legendary play from the Pacers’ ABA days. When I asked Slick Leonard about it, he said it was just an urban legend. But I’ll implement it for real. With just a few ticks left on the clock, I’d call a timeout. I’d draw up a play called “31, 7 and 7.” If anyone asked what that was, I’d tell them, “Get the ball to number 31 and then the 7-and-7s after the game would be on me.” If we were playing the Mavericks and Mark Cuban started mouthing off, I’d be well prepared to throw a drink in his face. Say what you want about Mr. Carlisle, but I don’t see him doing that for you. But, other than that one play, I’d leave everything else up to you. I just want what we all want: a championship banner for the Indiana Pacers. But, hey, I’m not trying to pressure you. I’ll leave you alone now because I know you’re a busy man. Personally, I think you’d be crazy not to hire me, but I’m not giving you the hard sell. You know where to find me. I look forward to many years of us working together. Your friend, Steve Hammer

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