Conrad Brunner Caught in the Web banner headline

Will Pacers Make A (Fashion) Statement?

by Conrad Brunner || Caught in the Web Archive

April 15, 2011

So by now you've read, heard and talked all about Derrick Rose, Chicago's airtight defense, the threat of Carlos Boozer, etc., etc.

But there's a reason you turn to The Official Website for your Pacers news and information, and that's because experienced, intrepid journalists have the foresight and perspective to identify and attack the truly important issues.

Such as:

What are the Pacers going to wear in Chicago?

You may remember, back in the day when the playoffs were a given, the players routinely made some sort of outward gesture of unity. The most memorable, of course, came when they shaved their heads en masse.

For Reggie Miller, Mark Jackson and Dale Davis, this was no big deal. But for guys like Rik Smits, who with a hairless dome looked something like a 7-foot-4 stick of roll-on deodorant, it was a major example of taking one for the team.

More common was the decision to wear black shoes and socks, which didn't exactly complement the blue-and-gold pinstripes but I guess that was the point.

So as these young Pacers embark upon their first playoff run in five years, what do they have in store for us?

They aren't telling.

"I don't know yet," said Danny Granger. "We're thinking about it but I'm not positive. We might do black shoes, black socks. The shaved-heads idea came up but I don't know how Jeff Foster would look with a shaved head and Mike Dunleavy didn't want to cut his golden locks.

"I don't know how that's going to turn out but we might do something."

You may have noticed several blue headbands scattered throughout the lineup in the regular-season finale Wednesday in Orlando. That might've been foreshadowing.

I kind of like the black shoes and socks idea. That's a callback to the Pacers' decade of dominance in the '90s. But if these guys want to blaze their own trail -- although the blue headbands lacked panache -- more power to them.

In the playoffs, there are many ways to make a statement.

Speaking of which, there hasn't been what you'd call a controversy about Granger's comments last week about the Pacers preferring the Bulls to the Celtics (when the matchups were not yet set) but a local columnist took him to task and a prominent Chicago sportswriter asked Thursday if he would either retract the statement or apologize for giving the Bulls bulletin-board material.

"I don't believe in the bulletin board," he said. "If you're a team in the NBA that's got to get up for the playoffs, you don't need bulletin-board material, especially a team like Chicago. They're the No. 1 seed, eyes on a championship, they should be ready to play."

So he doesn't take it back?

"No," Granger said. "It's the honest truth."

That's the best kind.

There are many reasons to be glad Mike Dunleavy has finally reached the postseason but on a purely selfish level, I am happy to have someone so utterly quotable around.

Consider Thursday, when Dunleavy was asked Standard Pacers Playoff Question No. 1, about how they might try to combat their near-total lack of playoff experience.

"Jeff Foster has loved to talk about it and tell all the playoff war stories," Dunleavy said with a wry grin. "I told him, 'Hey, man, it's been four or five years since you've been there. Back then they wore low-top Converses and played with a red, white and blue ball so you may have a few things to figure out yourself.' "

Think of how much fun this has been already, and the games haven't yet begun.