The beginning of the Indiana Pacers NBA history was a far cry from their ABA dynasty days. Financial struggles contributed to many poor personnel decisions which led to the team losing a lot in those dark days as they barely survived the merger between the two leagues. Ironically, the Pacers first NBA season with any amount of success led to perhaps the worst trade in team history and may have prevented the franchise’s NBA accomplishments dwarfing those three ABA championships.
But that one season of modest success might not have happened in the first place without a bicycle accident.
In the 1980-81 season, Jack McKinney led the Pacers to the NBA playoffs for the first time in his first season as coach of the team after taking over for the retiring Bobby “Slick” Leonard. The previous season McKinney was with the Los Angeles Lakers, who won the title in Magic Johnson’s rookie season. So why would the Lakers get rid of their head coach after winning a championship? Continue reading How a bike accident may have changed the course of Pacers history