Season Ends Much Like It Started for Pacers

Paul George is helped off the court by David West and Donald Sloan.  (Photo: Fox Sports)

Paul George is helped off the court by David West and Donald Sloan.
(Photo: Fox Sports)

It all started in the offseason, when Lance Stephenson signed with the Charlotte Hornets, shocking the Pacers, the fans, and the NBA world.

Then, that fateful night in August, when Paul George went up for a block during a Team USA exhibition game and came down with a devastating leg injury that would keep him sidelined for practically the entire season.

Then George Hill, who put in mega work in the offseason, only to start the first few months of the regular season on the bench battling his own injuries.

Then, after Paul George’s return, the Pacers get their groove back, begin to make a playoff push, and Chris Copeland is stabbed outside a nightclub in New York City.

And that wasn’t even the end of it.

In the final game of the regular season, a must-win for the Pacers, David West twists his ankle and returns to the game, though his mobility is clearly compromised. And with just minutes left, Paul George is carried off the court with an injury to his other leg, most likely caused by overcompensation.

And that was the end of it for the Pacers. The end of the misfortune and the end of the season.

But that was not the story of the Indiana Pacers this season. Not the injuries, not the misfortune, not the bad luck. None of it.

The story of the Indiana Pacers this season is how they overcame. Over and over and over…and over.

And now, it really is over.

But if you look back on this season as anything less than inspiring, you’re seeing it all wrong. And you’re missing the most amazing part.

Because the most amazing part of the Pacers’ season is that they were never really out of it. Until they were.

What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger. The Pacers were hurt this season, but they refused to be left for dead. They refused to tank. And they refused to give up.

And that, my friends, is the story of the Indiana Pacers this season.

Now, we look forward. To a new start, a new season, and a new chapter – where they turn the page on the pain, adversity, and challenges and emerge tougher, stronger, and better…

And write the happy ending we’ve been waiting for.

Go Pacers!

Paul George Rises on Easter Sunday

He is not here. For he is risen. As he said. Matthew 28:6

The Indiana Pacers could not have scripted a better comeback for Paul George.

After a devastating injury, after months of rehab, after missing the first 76 games of the season…

On the 256th day, Easter Sunday, Paul George rose from the bench at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. He entered the game to a thunderous standing ovation, he hit his first shot, he scored 13 points wearing his new number 13 jersey, and he helped the Pacers beat the Heat once again.

Afterwards, George praised his fans, calling them a big part of the reason he chose to remain with the Pacers long term.

And the warm welcome he received when he took the floor…

“Probably the greatest moment that I’ve had.”

–Paul George on his season debut

Many were surprised by what Paul George was able to accomplish during his first 15 minutes of the season, especially with his three-point shooting.

George, however, was not. When asked about it, he joked, “I hurt my leg, not my arm.”

Easter is a time of celebration, healing, and new beginnings.

For the Pacers, a team once left for dead, Easter brought new life. Along with a new path to the NBA playoffs.

And for Paul George, the healing is over. From here, it’s about turning the page and writing the next chapter of his career. But right now, he’s got more immediate goals for himself and his team.

“Time to rest up and get ready for the rest of the season.”

A season many doubted he would play in at all (if ever).

It may not have been miraculous, but Paul George’s rise on Easter Sunday was certainly heroic.

And memorable.

And he’s just getting started.

 

But we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;

perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Love Wins in Indy

Love by Robert Indiana is on display at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. (Photo: VisitIndy.com)

Something amazing happened in Indiana.

But first, something disturbing happened in Indiana.

A poorly written, communicated, and executed law was passed and signed by the governor. Regardless of intent, the concern created was real. And it tossed the state into a national media storm of criticism, division, and hate.

But while that was happening, something else was happening in Indiana. Hoosiers from different backgrounds, races, religions, and with differing political views came together in love…for their neighbor, their friend, their colleague, their family, and their Hoosier State.

They said, “Hell no!” That even something perceived as discrimination would not be tolerated. Not here. Not now. Not ever.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard stepped up himself, showing courage and leadership, and called upon the state legislature to act.

“Indianapolis will not be defined by this.” –Mayor Greg Ballard

And in ever fewer words, so did the Indianapolis Star.

Front page of the Indianapolis Star Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Front page of the Indianapolis Star Tuesday, March 31, 2015

And in the end, they did fix it. And it won’t define us any longer. Indy welcomes all. And now we’ve got a law that proves it.

For all the history in Indiana (up to and including last week), this week, Hoosiers showed the world who they really are.

They opened some eyes and they opened some hearts, if none other than their own.

I’ve spent the last several years waiting on a nameless politician to come along and inspire me. When all this time, the inspiration I was looking for was all around me. It just took something like this to bring it out.

During one of our darkest times, the hearts of Hoosiers shined the brightest.

And for that, I will always be proud.

And proud to call myself a Hoosier.

Now, let us live happily ever after…

And never speak of this again.

XO

Welcome to Indiana. My Indiana. 

March Madness in Indianapolis (Photo: Aerial Imaging Resources)

The eyes of the sports world will be on Indianapolis this week, as the city prepares to host its seventh NCAA Men’s Final Four Basketball Championship.

March Madness is in the air…and by the time the calendar turns to April, it’ll be game on!

It’s true. We’ve had a little controversy here. You may have heard about it. Like a family, we Hoosiers have our differences and we’re working through them. But this is the Final Four, and right now…it’s all about basketball!

If you’re heading to Indy this week, here’s what you need to know:

We’re pretty easy to find. If you’re coming from Kentucky, go north…Michigan, south…Wisconsin, get to Chicago, then go south…North Carolina, head west. And watch out for potholes, or as they’re known in Indiana…sinkholes.

Once you get here, just head downtown. That’s where all the action is. And park your car, because you won’t really need it. You’ll find everything you need right there. And some things you don’t. Like a creepy statue of John Wooden. You’ll know it when you see it.

We decorated for you. There are basketballs and Final Four signs everywhere. There’s even a giant bracket (the biggest in the world, I’m told) covering one whole side of the JW Marriott hotel. No, you can’t burn it if your team loses. But you can cry. There’s a lovely canal that runs through downtown to catch your tears.

We have memorials everywhere. Indianapolis is second only to Washington, D.C. when it comes to the number of monuments dedicated to veterans. And no, there’s no statue of Peyton Manning. Not yet, anyway. We’re working on that.

While you’re here, you should really visit the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. IndyCar was born in Indiana and the season is in full gear. The month of May is right around the corner and they’re preparing to host the biggest sporting event in the world and the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500. So, how can you not visit the Racing Capital of the World while you’re in the Sports Capital of the World? They’ll even take you around the track on a bus or better yet, in an IndyCar! And it’s only about 15 minutes from downtown (by regular car).

Hoosiers are friendly folks. Most of us will talk to anyone about anything. If you’re looking to start up a conversation with a local, here are two safe bets: “What’s up with the weather?” and “When is Paul George coming back?” No one knows the answer to either, but they’re sure to give you an opinion. And if you want to chime in, just say “spring.” It works in either case.

You’ll also find many helpful Hoosiers around town to assist you and direct you on your way. Hundreds of people have put in thousands of hours (most of them unpaid) to welcome visitors here with the warm Hoosier hospitality we’re known for. Why? Because we love our city and we love to share it with you. Also, we don’t have any teams left in the tournament and we have to make ourselves useful somehow.

This is what Indianapolis lives for. This is what Indianapolis plans for. This is what Indianapolis does (and does better than anyone else).

So, my plea to visitors and media members and sports figures in Indy this week is this: Judge us on our actions. Not our politics.

Because I promise you, for all the stereotypes created by one bill, there are millions of Hoosiers ready and waiting to prove them wrong.

This is Indiana. My Indiana.

Take some time to get to know us. And we’ll extend the same courtesy to you. Because in Indiana, we’re open to all. Just like we always have been. And nothing makes us happier than seeing visitors enjoy our city the same way we do.

Welcome to Indy!

It’s win or go home…

But, we hope you’ll want to return regardless.

Now, let’s watch some basketball!

Win Tickets to the Blue Breakfast!

Blue Breakfast at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center

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Hope to see you there…

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