Pacers’ Daniels In, Miller Finalist For Basketball Hall Of Fame

By Matt Cooper

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Pacers received good news last week when the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced that former Pacers' greats Mel Daniels and Reggie Miller were recognized by the Hall, Daniels being voted in by the American Basketball Association Committee and Miller being named as a finalist for the 2012 class, which will be announced Monday, April 2, in New Orleans.

Daniels, whose No. 34 is retired by the team, was a two-time ABA MVP and part of the Pacers' three ABA championship teams. Miller, whose No. 31 is also retired by the Pacers, played all 18 of his NBA seasons with the team, is a five-time All-Star, the Pacers' all-time leading scorer and, until last season, was the NBA's all-time leader in 3-point field goals made.

"This recognition from the Hall of Fame is well-deserved for both Mel and Reggie," said Pacers' Owner Herb Simon. "Mel's inclusion was long overdue especially since he was a dominant, championship-winning player during his career and Reggie's record speaks for itself not only as a player, but as a clutch player. They both represent the best of the Indiana Pacers' tradition."

"I think it's great," said his Pacers' coach Bob Leonard. "I look back at that frontline of Mel, Roger (Brown) and George (McGinnis), that was a heckuva frontline. All three of those guys at different tjmes scored more than 50 points in a game. But Mel is very deserving. He was a vicious competitor and you don't rebound like that (16.0 in six seasons with the Pacers) unless you are a big-time competitor. All he thought was win and in practice or games he always gave everything he had."

"I'm so excited that Uncle Mel will be the first Pacer to grace the Hall of Fame," said Miller. "It's a long time, overdue. It's an honor to call him one of my closest friends and I hope the State of Indiana is proud of the big fella."