INDIANAPOLIS – For the second straight year, the Indiana Pacers received Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame recognition as the Hall announced last week in Houston that the late Roger Brown, who was a member of the Pacers’ three American Basketball Association Championship teams, had been voted in by the ABA committee.
Brown, who passed away in 1997, is one of four players to have his number (35) retired by the franchise. He joins Mel Daniels, an ABA Committee inductee last year, and Reggie Miller, an inductee in the 2012 Hall of Fame class. Brown was a four-time All-Star and is considered one of the best clutch players of all time. The 6-5 forward played eight seasons for the Pacers and was the first player signed when the franchise originated in 1967. He is the franchise’s fourth all-time leading scorer.
“We are proud of another Pacer making it into the Hall of Fame,” said Pacers’ owner Herb Simon. “This is great recognition for the heritage and tradition of this franchise.”
“Another great one finally got in, a great player,” added former Pacers Coach Bob (Slick) Leonard. “I’ve been around pro basketball for 60 years, I’ve seen every frontline, either playing against ‘em, coaching against ‘em or broadcasting and that front line of George (McGinnis), Mel and Roger was as good as any or better. It’s too bad many people didn’t get to see Roger play. He was a great player. He had the whole game. If ever a guy deserves to be in, it’s Roger Brown and this is a wonderful thing. I want to live long enough to see that whole frontline in the Hall of Fame. We’re two-thirds of the way there.”
“I think it’s a testament to the franchise and the city that Roger, myself and Reggie Miller are in the Hall of Fame,” said Daniels. “Roger Brown was one of the best one-on-one players ever, he and Michael Jordan and I give the edge to Roger. What separated him from others was a high basketball IQ, high athleticism and his commitment to this team at both ends of the floor. One on one, I defy anybody, past or present, to guard him one on one. Nobody wanted to defend Roger. Nobody.
“This could be a yearly thing as Slick and George should get in. It’s great recognition for a city we loved and a team that we loved. Slick was the leader of the band, he formed us and guided us into one frame of mind to be as professional and efficient as possible. If it wasn’t for him, a lot of things wouldn’t exist downtown. We changed the culture of this city and he was the leader, he was a major part of it. I certainly hope they don’t overlook him next year.”