I didnít walk away feeling like I expected to.
To be honest with you while I was totally looking forward to the premier of winning time I just new that I would walk away angry and disgusted with the franchise and the current state of affairs.
Man was I ever wrong.
Instead of the despair that I expected I feel almost like I have been washed and cleaned by this event.
I told Hicks and Gnome after the movie that I could not help but look around at a packed fieldhouse that was filled with Pacers fans and feel hope. This was an event that they could have just stayed home or gone and done something else on a Friday night when this is a movie that they can see for free on TV in a few weeks.
But the place was packed. It was packed with young & old with both men & women.
Iím sure there were some people that were there to see the red carpet event, but Iím not even sure how many people knew much about that prior to getting there.
These were Pacer fans that were there to see history and frankly to be part of it again.
I was fortunate that I was able to attend every single game live that was on the movie screen and I will always cherish those moments. But I will tell you that being in that place with the people I was with watching the movie with a house full of Pacer fans was a damn close feeling as well.
Every time Reggie hit a big shot the crowd would cheer as though we were watching the game live again.
If you didnít come or live out of state and couldnít make it I will just say I feel sorry for you because for this one night the fieldhouse was magical again.
Letís get to the event.
Diamond Dave, DBrown24, theJaddler, KnicksRgarbage, Roaming Gnome, Roaming Gnomes better half, Shade, Hicks and myself all met in the pre-movie at Scottyís for dinner. As expected we spoke of current team events and lamented the state of affairs.
DBrown24 channeled his inner Seth and tried to convince Diamond Dave, Hicks and myself that Tyler would never be a good quality NBA player. Finally after what seemed like an hour of hearing him drone on about it he had to admit he was Duke fan. We all agreed to drop it from there.
Got done eating right about 10 till 7 and walked to the fieldhouse, where we saw the red carpet was going on. Asked who had shown up and was told Slick and Jeff Foster so far. Roaming Gnome then expresses very loudly that he isnít standing in the damn cold to see Jeff Foster so we went in. This solicited several snickers from the crowd in line.
We bypassed everybody and went to get our seats. We got third row seats on the corner giving us a superb view of the show. We got 9 seats together so it worked out great that we did not do the carpet because it became clear pretty early this was going to be a packed house.
Several players from the past and present were on the floor and a few were in the suites. Big Smooth, Vern Fleming, Austin Croshere, Mel Daniels, Slick Leonard, Derrick Mckey, Jeff Foster, Doug Collins and Charles Barkley were all on the floor for the event.
Jeff Foster came over towards our section to get a water when Dbrown24 yelled out for him which caused our entire section to cheer for him. His face lit up by the way and you could tell he was a little taken back by the whole thing. He then yelled ďanybody want a water?Ē then he threw a bottle of water which Dbrown24 caught. He will never wash his hands again and considers the contents of the bottle to be holy and blessed.
Several current Pacers were up in the suites.
Mark Boyle took the floor to introduce Dan Klores the film maker. Dan said a few pleasantries but then he did the one thing that everyone in the fieldhouse had been waiting for. He introduced Reggie Miller.
The crowd had been wanting to chant Reggie, Reggie, Reggie for several min. and when he hit the stage there was a thunderous explosion of cheers and chants. I couldnít tell for sure but I got the impression that Reggie got a little choked up about the response but quickly recovered and proceeded to say that he never got tired of hearing the cheers of the great fans of the Indiana Pacers.
He then thanked the producers and executives for the event as well the Simon family for letting them host the event there.
Reggie then acknowledged that Dan Klores drove from New York to Philadelphia by car and then chartered a flight to Indiana because of the snow storm.
He introduced Hall of fame members Doug Collins and Charles Barkley. Collins got a polite golf clap of course Sir Charles got the roar of the crowd.
Then it was movie time.
I donít know how to do a movie review but I will say this. Even if I wasnít a fan of the Pacers or even a Knicks fan I am certain I would enjoy this film.
It was entertaining on so many levels that it is really hard to describe. The interviews were very well edited together and everything flowed like the Mississippi river.
The one thing that you may or may not expect of this film is that it IS funny. From slow motion shots of Reggieís face when he was getting in John Starks head or grabbing his neck and junk at Spike Lee was down right hilarious.
To me though the stars of the movie (aside from Reggie of course) were Patrick Ewing, John Starks and Spike Lee. To me they all got the intent of the movie and were very entertaining to listen to and down right funny.
Patrick Ewing in the beginning was describing how irritating it was to try and play against Reggie and then after a few minutes he just pauses and looks at the camera and says ďyou know, I hated Reggie MillerĒ. Just to hear him say that was almost worth the trip and if it ended there I probably would have been satisfied but it went on.
John Starks described his role in events and seeing the director to cut back and forth between Reggieís version of events and Johnís version was just downright brilliant.
Of course the highlight for me was not only seeing those old teams but of course Dale Davis be front and center in so much of that action.
But this wasnít just about that series. They did the hole lead up to the series by showing how both teams had been on hard times since the early 70ís and they showed video tonight of something I had never ever seen before. They showed the Steve Alford household when the Pacers drafted Reggie Miller. The bitterness on his face was pretty evident when the Pacers didnít pick him.
I could go on and on but Iím sure all of you will see the movie when it hits ESPN, I know I will be taping it.
Two huge giant thumbs up to the movie itself.
As to the event, I want to thank the Pacers for hosting it and allowing us all too once again bond with Reggie and feel that magic come home again.
We cheered every shot, we had grunts when Reggie missed the free throws and we cheered to see our old favorites play again.
Like I started off saying, I walk away feeling far different than I ever thought I would going in.
I think I needed that to be honest with you. My Pacer spirit was bent but this movie tonight showed me that it was not broken.
To the Pacers front office, keep your heads up, work hard and as you can see by tonightís turnout the fans want to believe again.