"As you know, this season has been interesting and challenging..."

So begins the following video, which was recently sent out to all Indiana Pacers' season ticket holders. To call the Pacers 2006-07 season -- which included an 11-game losing streak, a 35-47 record (worst since 1988-89!), and the first playoff misfire in a decade -- "interesting and challenging" is like calling the Holocaust one of the worst cooking disasters of all time: it's understated to the point if insanity. Anyway, prepare to have some blue and gold smoke blown up your you-know-what...

If you actually watched the video, you probably noticed a couple things really quickly:

1. The Pacers have chosen to use fan favorites Larry Bird and Reggie Miller -- neither of whom play and one of whom (Miller) isn't currently affiliated with the team in any way -- as the proverbial spoonfuls of sugar that are supposed to help the medicine go down. And by "medicine" I of course mean "the dawning realization that the Pacers are probably going to suck in a major way for the next three to five seasons. At least."

2. Bird is transforming into a mutant right before our very eyes. What in the name of almighty Odin is happening to Larry Legend?! I mean, seriously...he looks like a soggy poop-sculpture of Larry Bird that a group of disabled third graders mashed together with their clubbed feet. I know Bird was never an attractive man, but I haven't seen sombody become this hideous this quickly since that guy in Robocop got soaked in toxic waste. I guess this just proves the old adage that "Legends never die, they just get fat and/or ugly."

In essense, the video is the basketball equivalent of a wife* who's gained 200 pounds, wracked up $50K in credit card debt, crashed your sports car into a lake, and booty-banged the next door neighbor, but then begs you to stay with her, promising that with a little effort and committment -- on your part, of course -- everything will work out just fine.

*I apologize if that example is too male-o-centric. If you're a heterosexual female basketball fan**, then the video is the basketball equivalent of a husband who's gone bald (and I mean the bad kind of bald where he parts what's left of his hair at the ear and swirls it all over the top of his head), borrowed from your 401K to finance his sports car (which he then nicknames "The Pussy Magnet IV"), thrown out all 147 pairs of your shoes, and screwed his 19-year-old secretary (whom you later find out was actually 17), but then asks you to let him back into the house because he can change if you just believe in him.

**If you're a homosexual female basketball fan, I apologize for the exclusionary nature of these examples. Feel free to leave your phone number in the comments section of this blog, and I will apologize over dinner and drinks.

In order to underscore the inspirational message in the video and show a renewed commitment to their fans, the Pacers fired coach Rick Carlisle. If you thought the Pacers' woes were due to a combination of fights, suspensions, injuries, trade demands, strip club shootings, bar fights, mascot arrests, and "blockbuster deals" involving names like "Mike Dunleavy Jr." and "Troy Murphy," you were wrong-o. Apparently, Carlisle was the problem the whole time. His pre-Brawl coaching record of 161-85 (which equates to a winning percentage of .654) , three division titles with two different teams (including a 61-21 season with the Pacers in which they had the best record in the league), two trips to the Eastern Conference Finals, six playoff appearances in seven years, and 2001 Coach of the Year award? All smoke and mirrors. The guy is distant, moody, and can't connect with "today's NBA player." Good riddance to bad rubbish, I say.

As a Pacers fan, I am now filled with the unfamiliar tingle of hope and optimism, even though the team has no coach, the team leader/franchise player/chronically injured Jermaine O'Neal just had arthroscopic knee surgery, and Dunleavy, Murphy, and Jamaal Tinsley are all still on the active roster. After all, as Dr. Loomis said at the beginning of Halloween, "The evil is gone...it's gone from here! The evil is gone!" Go Pacers!!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...
It could be worse. You could be a Sonics fan.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Or, hear how other fans of you favorite team get upset at the fact that the Sixers didn't tank to get a top 2 draft pick.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Solid points about Bird. It is just sad and weird to watch. Who knows when he will be selling pencils?