I have (finally) completed a book that was decades in the making, in time for the Pacers' 50th birthday.
"Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis" tells the story of the formation of the franchise in 1967 and its first two tumultuous seasons in the American Basketball Association -- seasons that laid the groundwork for the championships that followed. The first game was played on Oct. 14, 1967, so the timing is right to tell the story of the franchise that brought professional basketball back to Indy after a 14-year absence.
I have attempted to capture the dedicated effort to establish the franchise, the carefree, raucous nature of professional basketball at the time, and the unique stories of the players and other people involved with the team. It was an era never to be repeated, when a $6,000 down payment could claim a franchise, games were played in primitive arenas before a couple hundred fans, fights were commonplace, a player could toss a gun into his duffel bag and take it on a road trip and an 88-foot desperation game-winning heave could alter a life.
I grew up in Indianapolis and attended some of the games during these two seasons, and went on to cover the Pacers for The Indianapolis Star for 12 seasons, from 1996-2008, so I am familiar with most of the team's history. For this project, which goes deep rather than broad, I combed through the archives of several newspapers throughout the country, was given access to the personal files of one of the owners and interviewed dozens of players and other people connected with the franchise. I've exposed myths, revealed insights and told heart-warming, heart-breaking and hilarious anecdotes.
The book is 400 pages long and includes more than 50 photographs -- many never before published. Those who witnessed ABA games will enjoy reliving those days, and younger fans will find it hard to believe such a time existed.
"Reborn" is now available in the gift shop at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. I will conduct signings before some games, between 6 - 6:45 for 7 p.m. starts. It also can be found in a few locations at the airport, all Barnes and Noble locations and independent stores throughout Indiana and online at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.
I'm proud to report "Reborn" ranked among the top 30 in book sales in Indianapolis the week before Christmas, and in the top 50 nationally in hardcover nonfiction sports books.
I've been fortunate to receive a great deal of media coverage for the book, in the form of radio and television appearances, newspaper articles and podcasts.
Here's a link to my appearance with Brad Brown on WRTV-Channel 6:
Here's a link to my appearance with Dave Griffiths on Fox-59:
Here's a link to an article in the Fishers Current, thanks to Mark Ambrogi:
Here's a link to a podcast, with a well-informed Pacers fan in Latvia:
Here's a link to David Lindquist's recommendation in The Indianapolis Star:
Here's a link to an article by Ken Thompson in the Lafayette Journal and Courier:
Here's a link to a podcast with Jon and Dave of NUVO magazine:
Here's a link to a podcast with Larry Lannan, an informed Pacers fan who attended the second game in franchise history. Pardon my cold, please:
Here's a link to my conversation with Alan Karpick of Gold and Black Illustrated, talking Purdue basketball and "Reborn."
Here's a link to an article in the Kokomo Tribune, on Kokomo's contributions to the Pacers' early seasons.