The Pacers were one of the 11 original teams that formed the ABA in 1967. The Pacers and the Kentucky Colonels were the only teams that remained for all nine seasons without relocating to a different city, changing names or folding.
I attended my first ABA games when living in Southern California. The Anaheim Amigos played their home games about 2 miles from where I lived. It was fun to see the Pacers when they came to Anaheim to play.
I saw Southport graduate Louie Dampier in action when his Kentucky Colonels played the Amigos. He played for the Colonels for their entire nine years of existence.
A couple of years later I returned to Indianapolis and a good friend and I opened and operated a commercial driving school in the Broad Ripple area. At that time the Pacers were playing their home games at the State Fairgrounds Coliseum. Even when we had evening classes, we could get to the games by halftime.
A few years later I lived in an apartment on Harcourt Road, just south of 79th Street. One of my neighbors was Pacers player Bob Netolicky, but we really didn’t get to know each other.
Another Pacer with great local connections is George McGinnis, who attended Washington High, which went unbeaten and won the state championship in 1969. He was named Mr. Basketball that year. George played at Indiana University before playing for the ABA Pacers from 1971-75. He finished his professional career with the NBA Pacers 1980-82 and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame last year.
Lots of big-name players and coaches will attend the reunion, including Bob “Slick” Leonard, George McGinnis, Bob Netolicky, Julius Erving, Rick Berry, George Gervin, Darnell Hillman, Dan Issel and others.
The public can meet players, get autographs and purchase ABA memorabilia at Butler Fieldhouse from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, April 7. The dinner program, hosted by Bob Costas, follows at 6:30 p.m. at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse.
Call Don Detzler at 317-515-8649 or email email@example.com for tickets or more information.