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MagicRat
08-12-2007, 11:30 PM
'Slick' -- He's back, baby!

Pacers' Leonard, 75, excited about 3 more years on radio
<!--PRINTER FRIENDLY ARTICLE--> By Mark Montieth

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August 12, 2007

He just turned 75 and has been spending more quality time with doctors than he prefers, but Bob Leonard is ready to strap himself in for another roller-coaster ride.

The Indiana Pacers' former coach plans to continue his role as a radio analyst for the next three years, a decision that will become official when he puts his signature on an agreed-upon contract later this week.

That will mark the continuation of his partnership with play-by-play voice Mark Boyle, which dates to the 1993 playoffs, as well as his role as goodwill ambassador for the franchise.

An NBA player from 1956-63 and a consultant, coach or broadcaster with the Pacers throughout most of their 40 seasons, Leonard has experienced all the peaks and valleys a franchise can endure. That's why he views the Pacers with a wide-angle lens rather than focusing on the off-court issues of the past few years, or on last season's losing record -- its first in 10 years.

"It's a roller coaster," he said. "There are so many examples of it through the years. I've seen it all. Things can change quickly.

"Everything is headed in the right direction."

Leonard bases that opinion on his respect for new coach Jim O'Brien and his trust in CEO Donnie Walsh and team president Larry Bird to restore order and achievement.

He also bases it on the perspective that comes from his history with the franchise. He remembers when the front office was housed in a small building on 38th Street, with just one secretary. He remembers the bus rides to Louisville to play the Kentucky Colonels in the ABA heyday, when the team stopped at a truck stop in Seymour to eat dinner before the game and drove home after the game. He remembers the smoke-filled Coliseum at the State Fairgrounds, which held fewer than 10,000 fans in a bare-bones environment.

"I meet people who are in their 50s, and their parents brought them to the (Pepsi) Coliseum to the ballgames," he said. "I want to see parents bring their kids to the ballgames now and let them grow up with the Pacers.

"The progress here has been tremendous. We've built two new arenas. Market Square Arena revitalized Downtown, and Conseco Fieldhouse is the best arena in the country. New York's still sitting there with Madison Square Garden. That place is so antiquated, it's awful."

Leonard feels a bit antiquated himself some days. He had heart surgery a few years ago, and might require another one. He has an aortic aneurism that doctors measure every six months. If it grows, a difficult operation will become necessary. He had genuine doubts at the end of last season if he would be able to return, but so far doctors approve.

"You never know," he said. "That's something I'm going to have to keep on top of."

He recently had surgery on his right eye to implant a lens in his cataract, and will have surgery on the left eye Monday. It's an indication of how well-connected Leonard has become that his surgeon, Dr. John Abrams, was a ballboy at the Coliseum during the years when Leonard was coaching the Pacers to three ABA titles.

Leonard, however, still has plenty of energy to back his enthusiasm. He recently power-washed and sealed his driveway by himself. He's heading to southern Indiana to spend a few days with former Pacers guard Don Buse on Tuesday. He shoots in the 90s on the golf course, making the clutch shots that win bets.

He figures the contract he signs soon will be his last. But then who knows where a roller-coaster ride leads?

"You want to be able to do the job," he said. "Eighty-two games is a bunch. That's three college seasons. I can't go like I used to.

"But I still enjoy it. If I'm feeling good three years from now, we'll see what kind of job I've done and how the Pacers feel about me."

burnzone
08-13-2007, 12:33 AM
That's great news, it's not gonna be the same when Slick & Mark aren't the radio voices anymore.

It's also good to hear that his health is in good enough condition to allow him to stay around the game he loves.

There probably isn't a bigger database of knowledge about basketball, anywhere in the state, than Slick Leonard.

avoidingtheclowns
08-13-2007, 12:42 AM
has there been any word about a possible Jim O'Brien Show?

Doddage
08-13-2007, 01:38 AM
Hope so, it would only be appropriate based on tradition

Major Cold
08-13-2007, 05:39 AM
It would be nice to get a third voice on the radio. Easing another voice in may take away the shock of not having Slick.

MagicRat
08-13-2007, 08:18 AM
has there been any word about a possible Jim O'Brien Show?

I e-mailed Kevin Lee about that on June 27th.

Here's the response I received:

I've not heard if Jim O'Brien will have a show, but I believe we'll at least have Mark Boyle on in that time slot each week and my guess is Jim will do a show.

Maybe Mark can give us an update if he happens to wander in......

bellisimo
08-13-2007, 09:17 AM
the beauty is Slick never left...so he doesn't belong in that group of comeback attempts :)

avoidingtheclowns
08-13-2007, 09:39 AM
I e-mailed Kevin Lee about that on June 27th.

Here's the response I received:

I've not heard if Jim O'Brien will have a show, but I believe we'll at least have Mark Boyle on in that time slot each week and my guess is Jim will do a show.

Maybe Mark can give us an update if he happens to wander in......

cool. thanks MR

mboyle1313
08-13-2007, 12:03 PM
Pacer Savants,

Though I don't know for certain whether Jim will be doing a radio show, I do know that our broadcast management folks are trying to get something done.

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer.

MJB

Kegboy
08-13-2007, 12:09 PM
Pacer Savants

Quoted for LG's benefit.

:lmao:

BoomBaby31
08-13-2007, 01:48 PM
It would be nice to get a third voice on the radio. Easing another voice in may take away the shock of not having Slick.

It is going to be hard not hearing Slicks voice along with the pacers, when the time does come. Replacing him is going to be hard, we have some of the best broadcasters in the business. I always compare others to the Pacers Guys and there is just no comparison. I was watching the Oakland Raiders Preseason game, and they are horrible. They have good knowledge but no presentation. The lakers guys, are equally as bad. I always get the NBA League Pass so I get to listen to many out of market games and I haven't heard any that compare. It is a treat to listen to all these broadcasters.

Gyron
08-13-2007, 03:08 PM
Whats really gonna hurt is Didn't Mark say when Slick is done, he's probably done?

I will really miss the combo, but its gonna hurt all that worse if we lose both of them at the same time.

We have one of the Best Duo's in the NBA. I have many memories with Mark and Slick on the radio that will never be topped, especially when Reggie was playing.

LoneGranger33
08-13-2007, 03:13 PM
Quoted for LG's benefit.

:lmao:

He knows not what he does.

Knowing our luck, he'll be replaced by Ryan Seacrest (what job hasn't he gotten).