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Thread: share your Chuck Person stories

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    play harder! focused444's Avatar
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    Default share your Chuck Person stories

    I was watching Larry Bird's top 50 moments the other night, when footage (I've never seen) was shown from the Chuck Person, Larry Bird Rivalry.

    here is a paragraph from wiki about Chuck: Selected fourth in the 1986 NBA Draft out of Auburn University by the Indiana Pacers, the small forward won the Rookie of the Year award in 1987 and played six seasons with Indiana. During this time, Person established a reputation as a brash, trash talking antagonist who, for better or worse, brought a competitive spirit to a floundering Pacers franchise. This culminated during the 1991 and 1992 playoffs when Person had an ongoing rivalry with Hall of Famer and future Pacers President Larry Bird.

    This brashness was referred to in the Bird documentary as well, and they even went as far to say that Person's persona is where Reggie learned his antagonistic traits from.

    I then realized I began following the Pacers the year after Person was traded, and while I was always aware that he was a Pacer I never saw him play until he was just another guy on the opponents team. I especially didn't know about his fiery personality.

    What I'm hoping for is for the old timers (or anyone) to share personal interactions with, or great memories of Chuck. Little things you noticed about him during games, on the bench, warm ups. From the little footage I've now seen he seems like a very interesting character, and deadly shooter.

    Is it true he revived the franchise?

    Did Reggie learn to be a showman from Chuck?

    Was he a good teammate, being that he was so explosive?

    Was he brash all the time or just on the floor?


    For example, Trader Joe posted an anecdote about an interaction he had with Granger on Monday (which is great by the way):

    "Yesterday Seth and I were sitting behind the P's bench and when Danny came out at half time to sit on the bench as the team was warming up, we both started yelling and I said "See you Wednesday Danny!" And he looked at us, smiled, and gave a slight nod and point."

    I hoping to unearth some of these jewels that show insight into Chuck's personality, or maybe a night where you saw him completely take over a game (did he do that?)

    thanks! go Pacers!

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    Member Jon Theodore's Avatar
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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person anecdotes

    What is an anecdote.
    *removed* Just keep politics and religion completely out of it, please.

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person anecdotes

    a usually short narrative of an interesting, amusing, or biographical incident

    that's the definition

    i used the word because i wanted personal stories

    should i change it to stories?

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person anecdotes

    I was a casual fan in the late 80's, probably more focused on college ball at the time. So I don't have too much to add here. But I distinctly remember Chuck and how he seemed to give the Pacers some personality and a boost. He had supreme confidence and the team leaned on him for that. He was a guy you knew would be more than willing to shoot the ball.

    I thought Reggie learned something from Chuck...but he wasn't Chuck's student for long. Kind of reminds me of Paul and Danny...although today's Pacers are better players.

    Reggie did seem to be his under study for a bit, but it didn't last long. It became clear very quickly who would be "the man".

    It's been a long, long time...but I recall Chuck being brash all the time. It seemed to be his personality. He was an exciting player, although at the time our standards were not that high. Any competition he had with Bird was very temporary. Bird was at least a couple levels better than Chuck.

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person anecdotes

    More HERE.

    Bird and Person enjoyed a fierce rivalry throughout their careers. Person was a brash, outspoken, trash-talker who wanted to get in Bird’s face. Bird was a quiet assassin who generally let his actions speak for him – although he could talk trash with the best of them. On one legendary late December night, Bird told Person before a game that he had a present for him. In the fourth quarter, after hitting a clutch 3-pointer, Bird turned to Person, who was seated on the Pacers’ bench, and said, “Merry Christmas.” Such was the nature of their rivalry.

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person anecdotes

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueNGold View Post
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    I was a casual fan in the late 80's, probably more focused on college ball at the time. So I don't have too much to add here. But I distinctly remember Chuck and how he seemed to give the Pacers some personality and a boost. He had supreme confidence and the team leaned on him for that. He was a guy you knew would be more than willing to shoot the ball.

    I thought Reggie learned something from Chuck...but he wasn't Chuck's student for long. Kind of reminds me of Paul and Danny...although today's Pacers are better players.

    Reggie did seem to be his under study for a bit, but it didn't last long. It became clear very quickly who would be "the man".


    It's been a long, long time...but I recall Chuck being brash all the time. It seemed to be his personality. He was an exciting player, although at the time our standards were not that high. Any competition he had with Bird was very temporary. Bird was at least a couple levels better than Chuck.
    Crazy how history repeats itself, including the circumstances around Reggie and PG's draft involving a local basketball hero. Hope Paul continues down Reggie's path.

    Yeah the documentary made it clear that Bird was levels above Person, but Person being who he is gave him a good fight in a playoff series.

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person anecdotes

    Quote Originally Posted by focused444 View Post
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    Crazy how history repeats itself, including the circumstances around Reggie and PG's draft involving a local basketball hero. Hope Paul continues down Reggie's path.

    Yeah the documentary made it clear that Bird was levels above Person, but Person being who he is gave him a good fight in a playoff series.
    Wow. I'm kind of embarrassed. I never even thought of the Gordon Hayward and Steve Alford connection. Kind of spooky.

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person anecdotes

    haha right, it is kinda spooky. There are some other similarities too. Their size, lankiness, and both being from SOCAL. I can't take credit for those though.

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person anecdotes

    I'd love to hear more about Chuck in general, even as a player. He left before I got head first into the Pacers.

    He seemed like a very nice guy. I ran into him before the 89 Indiana/Kentucky HS all-star game at MSA and he was pretty friendly.

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person anecdotes

    Quote Originally Posted by imawhat View Post
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    I'd love to hear more about Chuck in general, even as a player. He left before I got head first into the Pacers.

    He seemed like a very nice guy. I ran into him before the 89 Indiana/Kentucky HS all-star game at MSA and he was pretty friendly.
    I remember how Chuck would hit a shot from an insane distance and back-pedal while wagging his head up and down like a bobble-head doll. He was our little side-show for a couple years there.
    "I'd run through a brick wall for that man."
    - Roy Hibbert on playing for Coach Frank Vogel

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    Reggie's "never take advice from chuck person" stories were always the best

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
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    I wish I had a concrete memory about his personality to share. I do remember witnessing a great game if his firsthand at MSA. It was the 89-90 season, making me 12 years old at the time. My father, uncle, and I made the trip to Indy to see the Pacers take on the then-defending champion Pistons.

    I got Stuart Gray's autograph before the game. He and Bill Laimbeer were ejected for fighting in the first quarter (shocking! Laimbeer ejected?).

    But "The Rifleman" was on fire that night. He had 25 points at half. He was slowed a bit in the second half but still had 40+. The Pistons put the clamps on and came away with the win, but Chuck Person and the Pacers made me a fan for life that night.

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    Reggie's "never take advice from chuck person" stories were always the best

    There is one from his I Love Being the Enemy book that particularly stands out. In an exhibition game, the Pacers were killing the Bulls because the Bulls were going through the motions and not really giving a crap. Reggie had been on fire that night and Person said something like "talk ***** to Michael, he ain't any good". Reggie, feeling good about himself, decided to do it and began talking some to ***** to Jordan. 45 wasn't about to be served up like that, not even in an exhibition game. So 45 goes on a scoring tear and the Bulls win the game. At the end of the game, MJ went up to Reggie and said "don't ever talk ***** to me again."

    Reggie concluded the story by saying "Two things: Number one, I never talked ***** to Michael again, and number 2, I never listened to Chuck Person again."

    That's my paraphrasing of it. I don't have the book in front of me right now.

    The Bird serving up Person story is hilarious too.

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    I'd much rather talk about '91 than the season we don't discuss in that other thread.



    For history purposes, the Pacers in the mid-80's were the walking dead. With Herb Williams and Clark Kellogg as their starting forwards, and an absolutely wretched backcourt, they managed 94 wins over a four year period. Yes. Jim O'Brien's worst season was still better than their best season.

    They started picking up some young talent in the draft - Stipo, Fleming, Tisdale.

    Finally Donnie Walsh was promoted to GM. His first moves were hiring Dr. Jack Ramsay and drafting Rifleman. He signed John Long as a FA to play SG. The culture of the team changed immediately.

    Then they got their blessing in disguise - Kellogg's knees were shot. Rifleman stepped into the starting lineup as a rookie, was a landslide rookie of the year winner. A big win in Phoenix that season (when we were all accostomed to going 0fer on west coast trips) was punctuated by Chuck's 42 points - 18 for 23 from the floor including 6-6 from behind the arc. Chuck also made more game winning shots as a rookie than most players make in a career.

    That team made the playoffs for the second time in the Pacers' NBA history against the loaded Atlanta Hawks. Chuck and Dominique instantly had a nice rivalry. That team also had Doc Rivers, Spud Webb, Tree Rollins and Kevin Willis. How Fratello and later Wilkens never got more out of them, I don't know.

    The Pacers first NBA playoff win ever was game #3. Rifleman led the team with 23 (0-1 from behind the arc), 17 and 7.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/...704290IND.html

    MSA was rocking.

    In game #4, Rifleman dropped 40 again, on only 27 FGA (including 0-3 on 3's). That was his 40 second 40-point game a rookie. He also added 7 rebounds and six assists. The 40 points would be a franchise (NBA) playoff record until Reggie scored 41 in game #5 against the Bucks (2000).

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/...705010IND.html

    The point of this part of the history lesson is that many will come on here and tell you that Chuck was only a one-deminsional long-range bomber. That may have become true, but it was a coaching prophesy that became self-perpetuated.

    Chuck teased us with what the Pacers could actually become.

    A certain percentage of Indiana basketball fans didn't like it though. The Pacers were supposed to be the local punching bags to beloved Larry Bird and the Celtics.

    The next season ended with the Knicks eliminating the Pacers for the #8 seed on the very last day of the season. A young rookie kid named Miller played off the bench behind John Long and averaged 10 points per game.

    The following year, Stipo's knees were shot.

    A young rookie C named Smits was not ready to play but thrust into the lineup.

    Dr. Jack had all he could take and retired. Mel Danies wanted nothing to do with the HC job. George Irvine happened yet again and went 6-14, by far the highest winning percent of his coaching career.

    And then Q-tip-head was hired.

    At that point, Rifleman's three year run was 19P, 8R, 4A; 18P, 7R, 4A; and 22P, 7R, 4A.

    Dick Versace decided Rifleman could/ should only shoot 3's. While Chuck had a range on his jumper out to almost the timeline, he was also somewhat judicious in when he used the 3 point shot - saving it for big moments. Even while logging heavy minutes, he only took a couple 3FGAs per game (up to 2.6 in the third year which was boosted by Versace parking him at the 3point line.)

    Naturally, his rebounding took a tumble since he was away from the basket, and his reasonably efficient two-point shot started to fade away from his game.

    The Pacers also picked up Detlef Schrempf, and while Det was the sixth man his offensive versatility made him one of the key go-to guys. And they'd had all of Herb Williams' turnovers they could take, and in came Tank Thomspon as well.

    Vern-Reggie-Chuck-Tank-Smits found themselves in the 1990 playoffs getting clobbered by Detroit. Chuck had a lousy series.

    Rifleman built a mansion on Geist. Chuck was tape junkie, and had installed multiple satellite dishes (remember, this was before the League Pass) so that he could watch every game and take notes on tendencies of the other SFs. Reggie built a mansion next door (not the one that burned). There was a cool NBA on NBC halftime feature in this era on their houses, and how they'd walk next door to shoot pool against each other.

    The next season got off to lousy start, and Versace was canned (thank God) and Bo Hill took over. The day after Bo Hill was named coach, Reggie signed a huge contract extension. Up until then, the rumor was that he wanted to go back to LA and play with Magic. After signing that contract extension, Reggie began moving away from his "Hollywood" nickname.

    Realizing that his young guns were more likely to play good defense if their offensive games were on, Bo emphasized ball movement and offense and probably maximized that team's potential. The Bird-Person rivalry had been gathering heat to match the Person-Wilkens rivalry. To the point where Chuck called out the Indianapolis fans that were booing when Rifleman outplayed Bird in a regular season game. This one:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/...102240IND.html

    Chuck was a legendary trash talker, as was Bird. That actually became a rallying cry for the Pacers fans, but the action in the stands was every bit as intense as the action on the court.

    At 41-41, which was a solid recovery after Versace started the season at 9-16, the Pacers and Celtics met in the playoffs.

    The Pacers blew out the C's in Game #2, behind Chuck's 39 points on just 24 shots (16-24 overall, including a red-hot 7-10 from behind the arc. But hey, that's also 9-14 inside the arc in a playoff game so again ignore those "he was just a three-point specialist" remarks)

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/...104280BOS.html

    There is a contingent of us that would love to get this particular game of this series onto the NBA Classics rotation.

    Game #3 was UGLY. MSA was ready to explode. And Bird, McHale, and Parrish were ready to play defense. Chuck was awful. Just awful. 2-6 from the floor for six points.

    Game #4 was a different story. Chuck erupted for 30 and Reggie added 27. The series went back to Boston tied at 2. And MSA was at its all-time loudest.

    Dale Raterman, long time marketing director for the Pacers, describes Game #4 like this:

    The crowds in Market Square Arena got national attention during the Pacers' conference finals appearances for being among the loudest and most passionate in the NBA. Rightly so. But in my 15 years with the Pacers, the loudest I ever heard the crowd in MSA - and the only time I literally saw a crowd carry a team to victory - was during the opening round of the 1991 NBA Playoffs. Let me set the scene. The Pacers finished the season 41-41 and faced the Atlantic Division champion Boston Celtics. Boston edged the Pacers in Game 1. However, led by Chuck Person's 39 points, Indiana won Game 2, 130-118, in the fabled Boston Garden. Returning to Indianapolis for the next two contests of the five-game series, the Pacers' fans hoped that the team could hold its homecourt advantage and win its first NBA playoffs series. The Celtics won the bitterly fought Game 3, 112-105. Two nights later in Game 4, the Celtics built a seven-point lead over the first three quarters.

    During the timeout between the third and fourth periods, public address announcer Reb Porter implored the crowd to ''get on your feet and help YOUR Indiana Pacers during the final quarter.'' The crowd rose, began to make noise and no one - I mean no one - ever sat down the rest of the night. The Pacers began chipping away at the Celtics' lead. With every Pacers' point and every Celtics' miss, the crowd got louder and louder. Standing and cheering through every time out, every free throw and every second of action, the crowd needed no encouragement. There was no music played over the loudspeakers, no announcements to instruct the fans to support the home team. As the team's public relations director, my seat was next to the Pacers' bench. During timeouts, I could see in each player's eyes the adrenaline rush that was pushing them to new heights.

    The team played harder in that fourth quarter than any I had ever seen. By midway through the quarter, the roar was deafening. The Pacers eventually grabbed the lead and held on for a 116-113 victory to send the series back to Boston for a deciding Game 5. (The Celtics prevailed in another thriller, 124-121, in a game still among the most storied in Garden history. Larry Bird, sent to the locker room to recover from hitting his head on the floor, returned to the court in the second half to inspire the Celtics to the victory.) But the intensity - on the floor and off - during those 12 minutes in the final quarter of Game 4 will never be matched - in my eyes, or in my ears.
    http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/msa_s..._tabs_social=2



    I'll tell you from personal experience the following stories. I had 15th-row seats, across from the C's bench. When we parked in the lot at Arena Sporting Goods that night, the young "kid" (probably my age, I was a junior in college at the time) got out of the car wearing a Bird jersey and Pacers cap. Jay's_Dad@Section222 used his football coach's voice and said, "Young man, you are going to have to make up your mind before you walk into that arena. Us or them?" The kid was so intimidated he took off his Bird jersey and left it in the car.

    At some point in the second half Rifleman hit a big shot, changing the momentum. The C's were going to call timeout after advancing the ball to halfcourt, but McHale passed to Bird or vise versa, Chuck intercepted the pass, dribbled about 15 feet for a 1 on 3 slow "fast" break, stopped and put a 28-footer right through the middle of the net. Now the C's called timeout and Chuck took a lap around MSA pounding his chest, further electrifying the 1/2 of the crowd that was cheering for the Pacers. The other 1/2 of the crowd was insulted that Chuck could show up their hero. In all of the years of going to games with a father that is a coach... well, he just doesn't cheer. He watches, and takes it all in, thinking about what his next move would be. I've gotten fewer than five high-fives from him in 35 years of going to Pacers games together. And that shot was one of them.

    During either that timeout, or the quarter break mentioned above, the guy in a Green #33 jersey sitting behind me told me to sit down. This so-infuriated Jay's_Fiance@Section222 that she started yelling back at him. "At least he's cheering for the home team." Yep, she's a keeper.

    Anyway, re-read that description above. Such a game.

    Off to game five, the damn game we do get watch on NBA Classics. Stupid Larry Bird comes back after almost breaking his ugly face. And Rifleman has a great chance to send it to overtime and misses the biggest shot of his career. Chuck finished with 32 and the three-headed second options of Detlef, Micheal Williams and Reggie each had more than 20 in that game.

    The Pacers did not regain the magic the following season. They struggled instead of breaking out. Young Dale Davis gradually replaced Tank Thompson. There were two players in the league that averaged 20-5-5 - Bird and Pippen. Or as Chuck likes to describe it, there were three players in the league that season that averaged 19-5-5 - Bird, Pippen and Rifleman.

    But they were swept by Boston. Then Donnie Walsh outsmarted himself by trading Rifleman and Micheal Williams for a pile of Pooh (Richardson) and some spare change. The idea was that Detlef would be the team's new go-to guy. But that team also didn't really get its act together either and Bo Hill's contract was not renewed. Larry Brown came in, decided it was time for it to be Reggie's team and traded Detlef for McKey. Smits was finally ready to be a starter (you'll notice in that '91 series that Dreiling was starting ahead of Smits to keep Rik out of foul trouble). Antonio Davis was picked up, along with Workman. And Larry Brown had a vastly different team than Bo Hill's final season. But they got off to an awful start, 1-6, then up to 5-10, and still just 11-17 in early January and only 16-23 in late January before it clicked and they finished 31-12 over the last 2.5 months. Oh yeah, something else happened in there - Byron Scott signed and made it his personal mission to teach Reggie and the team what it meant to be winners.

    Meanwhile, Chuck was banished to Minnesota where he was not part of their future. As a free-agent, he signed with San Antonio and was reunited with Bo Hill. Bo used him a lot at PF, and suddenly Chuck was back up to 5 rpg (and the second highest per-36 rebound rate of his career). Late during training camp of Chuck's second season in SA, there was a mishap at either the takeoff or landing of the team's charter plane. Chuck's back was wrecked. He only missed two games that year, but then he subsequently missed the entire following season. But he was in good company. David Robinson missed 70+ games, and Sean Elliott and Charles Smith each missed most of the season. With the exception of Will Purdue, that was the entire front court. Bo Hill got canned, they drafted Duncan, and the rest has been SA history. During the season that Chuck missed due to injury, the players responded to an ESPN or SI survey and one of the questions was "who's the best trash talker?" Chuck finished in the top-four. Hang on to this story... If you saw my comments in the Jalen Rose thread- that was also the Season We Do Not Discuss, and Rifleman spent the year rehabbing at his home in Geist, was seen at numerous Pacers games, and was paying Roger Brown's medical bills.

    After one more year in SA, Chuck was traded to Chicago, cut immediately, and spent the lockout year in Charlotte.

    He played one more season in Seattle. During the season, Gary Payton was asked about talking trash, and told the reporter he didn't think he was the even the best trash talker on his team. "Chuck Person missed an entire season and was still one of the top vote getters -- how can I top that?"

    The eight-seeded Sonics playoff run ended in Utah in game #5 in a three-point loss. Chuck Person played one minute of Game #5, and was 0-1. Gary Payton threw him the ball for the last shot that looked eerily similar to that Game #5 loss in Boston a decade earlier. Here's how SI and Paul Westphal described the last shot of Chuck's career:

    Seattle had pulled within 94-93 when Gary Payton flipped in a runner in the lane with 25 seconds to play.

    The Sonics got a final chance, but Chuck Person's 3-point attempt bounced off the rim at the buzzer.


    "I'd bet on him anytime," Seattle coach Paul Westphal said. "He's a money shooter. He's made a lot of those in his career. He gave it a good ride and it just didn't go in."
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/bas...sonics_gm5_ap/

    Last edited by ChicagoJ; 02-13-2013 at 11:57 AM. Reason: A few edits/ addenudums
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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    play harder! focused444's Avatar
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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    holy smokes ChicagoJ! amazing post! I laughed, learned, and nearly cried. Thank you

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    Chuck was a guy that always seemed to bite off more than he could chew. He'd get to a point where you felt he was ready for the big time, but he was always upstaged by his opposing number.

    He couldn't shake off Dennis Rodman in 1990, he got edged out by the corpse of Larry bird in 1991, and then he was taken behind the woodshed by bird's understudy (Reggie Lewis) in 1992. I felt he was a bit Iike mark Aguirre. Competent scorer on a mediocre team, but a vital component on a contender. I thought he was more comfortable in his own skin in San Antonio than he ever was in Indiana.

    JR Smith reminds me a lot of chuck person. Talent of an all star, but the unfounded confidence of a hall of famer.

    Chuck would have been awesome on twitter.
    Last edited by Kstat; 02-13-2013 at 04:38 AM.

    It wasn't about being the team everyone loved, it was about beating the teams everyone else loved.

    Division Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 1989, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008
    Conference Champions 1955, 1956, 1988, 2005
    NBA Champions 1989, 1990, 2004

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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    I can't compete with J's write-up, nor will I try. I was more of a Chuck fan than a Reggie fan when they were both here, mainly because I guess Chuck was the first player that got us to the playoffs. He made a difference on this team.

    Chuck also was misunderstood. He didn't have great talent, wasn't a very good athlete (by NBA small forward standards), he was somewhat limited overall. His shooting was streaky and he didn't have the best form so I never thought he was a great shooter.

    But he did have some things working for him. He was as smart as any player to ever put on a Pacers NBA uniform, his BB IQ was extremely high, (his passing was very underrated) even though he didn't IMO have great instincts for basketball. He also was extremly mentally tough, he never backed down, never backed away from a challenge. he was stubborn in a good and bad way. he wasn't an easy guy to coach, he thought he knew best.

    Chuck was my favorite player when he was traded, but the pacers made the correct decision in trading Chuck and building around Reggie. It shouldn't be a surpirse that In many ways his rookie season was his best season, he didn't have a great upside as it was his smarts that made him so good and he came into the NBA with that.

    He was an emotional player and when he got worked up he could go off and the bigger the game the more he would step up
    Last edited by Unclebuck; 02-13-2013 at 10:13 AM.

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    Member Grover's Avatar
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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    I lived in Atlanta from 89-94 and its kind of blurred together and I don't know which season this was...

    It was a year the Pacers had weak defense but an excellent shooter at each position and a lot of fun to watch on offense (Smits at C, Schremph at the 4, Chuck at 3, Reggie at the 2 and the questionable point guard George McCloud - a shooting guard out of position, imo).

    One game against the Hawks, Chuck was really feeling it and woofing it up. Then came the moment I'll enjoy forever.

    Chuck drove the lane drawing like all five Hawks (may not have been but it seemed like it at the time) and just flipped the ball backwards over his head without looking to hit McCloud wide open in the corner. Before George even caught the ball, Chuck started dancing and waving his arms wildly as he ran back down the floor celebrating. Luckily McCloud hit the shot, but seeing Person's cocky confidence flowing through the whole team was awesome. I think he had that bobble head thing going (mentioned above) too! Great fun

    I know I didn't have that kind of faith in George McCloud...
    Last edited by Grover; 02-13-2013 at 11:47 AM.

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  29. #19
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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    These are both good. I'll add a little:

    Quote Originally Posted by Kstat View Post
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    Chuck was a guy that always seemed to bite off more than he could chew. He'd get to a point where you felt he was ready for the big time, but he was always upstaged by his opposing number.

    He couldn't shake off Dennis Rodman in 1990, he got edged out by the corpse of Larry bird in 1991, and then he was taken behind the woodshed by bird's understudy (Reggie Lewis) in 1992. I felt he was a bit Iike mark Aguirre. Competent scorer on a mediocre team, but a vital component on a contender. I thought he was more comfortable in his own skin in San Antonio than he ever was in Indiana.
    A lot of that was Dick Versace's low views of Chuck, and the criticism that followed when Chuck did what his coach asked- stand at the 3-point line and the rebounding numbers tumbled. Reuniting Chuck with Bo Hill in SA certainly helped reenergize both of them. But I don't completely agree with your comment because I believe he still owns that house in Geist. In the mid-90's, he still split his offseasons between Brantley and Geist.

    JR Smith reminds me a lot of chuck person. Talent of an all star, but the unfounded confidence of a hall of famer.

    Chuck would have been awesome on twitter.
    Those are great observations and quite accurate, IMO.

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    I can't compete with J's write-up, nor will I try. I was more of a Chuck fan than a Reggie fan when they were both here, mainly because I guess Chuck was the first player that got us to the playoffs. He made a difference on this team.

    Chuck also was misunderstood. He didn't have great talent, wasn't a very good athlete (by NBA small forward standards), he was somewhat limited overall. His shooting was streaky and he didn't have the best form so I never thought he was a great shooter.
    Chuck was a 6'8" NBA forward that couldn't dunk. In that era, there was only one other player with that description, but Bird actually could dunk. Bird probably had a higher vertical than Rifleman. Rifleman might've had as high a BBIQ as Bird. Chuck didn't have Larry's court vision, but let's be honest less than a dozen players in NBA history have seen the entire court -- and deliver the pass -- like Bird could do and they're probably all in the HoF.

    But he did have some things working for him. He was as smart as any player to ever put on a Pacers NBA uniform, his BB IQ was extremely high, (his passing was very underrated) even though he didn't IMO have great instincts for basketball. He also was extremly mentally tough, he never backed down, never backed away from a challenge. he was stubborn in a good and bad way. he wasn't an easy guy to coach, he thought he knew best.

    Chuck was my favorite player when he was traded, but the pacers made the correct decision in trading Chuck and building around Reggie. It shouldn't be a surpirse that In many ways his rookie season was his best season, he didn't have a great upside as it was his smarts that made him so good and he came into the NBA with that.
    This is where I disagree. First of all, with that trade they were building around Detlef, not Reggie. It wasn't Reggie's team until Brown came in and traded Detlef. Second, Chuck saw the writing on the wall - that his future was as a sixth man and lobbied against the trade rumors to stay with Donnie, Bo, Reggie and the Pacers. Word has come out over the years that it was George Irvine, in his VP role, that was pushing hard for the trade. When Bo Hill's contract was not renewed, he lamented about how the trade that was supposed to help chemistry didn't actually help chemistry, and the talent was depleted. You always say the winner of an NBA trade is the one who receives the best talent. Minnesota received the two most talented players in that trade. I think we all would have loved for Rifleman and AD to be the two frontcourt bench players for the Larry Brown-era Pacers. He even said so himself, at one point, when he said the only way the Pacers would have had the firepower to compete with that vintage of the Rockets was if they still had the Rifleman.

    He was an emotional player and when he got worked up he could go off and the bigger the game the more he would step up
    Like Reggie after him, and now David West, he was just the guy you trusted in that situation. He wasn't afraid of the big stage and bright lights. When the PA system was playing "Holding out for a Hero" (bad 1980's flashback) -- everybody in MSA knew where the ball was going and he still made the plays far more often than not (cueing vnzla to call him 'choker'). At the time he left, he was far-and-away the best player we'd had since the ABA ended. Maybe Billy Knight came close, but nobody else. He's long since been surpassed. Even I'll admit that.

    Signed,

    Chuck Person's biggest fan
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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  31. #20

    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane- awesome stories. I had forgotten how much of a complete player Chuck was in his first few years, as opposed to being a shooter hanging out by the 3-point line after (as you stated) his coaches asked him to do that. For example, the playoff boxscores you linked showed him shooting 10 or even 15 free throws, plus boards, plus assists. Later the boards went down and he never drew fouls because... well... who needs to foul a guy waiting to shoot a jumper?

    I was a Billy Knight guy, and then I really drifted away from the team somewhat in the late 80s (well, graduate school can do that to a guy). It was that opening round of the 1991 playoffs vs. Boston that really re-awakened my fandom.
    The poster "pacertom" since this forum began (and before!). I changed my name here to "Slick Pinkham" in honor of the imaginary player That Bobby "Slick" Leonard picked late in the 1971 ABA draft (true story!)

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  33. #21
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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    Chuck also seemed to have a tendency to gain some weight from time to time. That is just his body type as you can see after his playing days.

    J, so you think the pacers were building around Detlef. I don't see it that way. The common thought at the time: either Reggie or Chuck, but not both. Detlef could adjust his game to either.

  34. #22
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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    My favorite memory of Chuck was actually when he got kicked out of a game. He took the ball and kicked it into the stands. Someone threw the ball back onto the court. Chuck took the ball and kicked it into the stands again. I still laugh about that to this day. Chuck was real streaky, but when he got going, buckets! I remember a game (in Chicago I think), and Reggie and Chuck hit back to back to back threes, which helped to solidify that win (at least I think they won). That was the first time I saw Chuck Person dunk. I remember that whoever was announcing was laughing so hard, because they weren't sure if Chuck was going to get off the ground high enough to dunk it. He didn't come away from that dunk with the name 'Skywalker' to be sure. One of my earlier memories of the Pacers was how emotional Donnie's presser was when he traded Chuck away.

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  36. #23
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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    Quote Originally Posted by Unclebuck View Post
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    Chuck also seemed to have a tendency to gain some weight from time to time. That is just his body type as you can see after his playing days.

    J, so you think the pacers were building around Detlef. I don't see it that way. The common thought at the time: either Reggie or Chuck, but not both. Detlef could adjust his game to either.

    Problem was that the opposite happened - Detlef, Reggie and Rik had awful on-court spacing. Mostly because when Detlef moved into the starting lineup he got in everyone's way. That's not the same as chemistry, and its actually a bigger problem. Detlef didn't adjust to any of them. And with Brown looking for "four interchangeable wings" and "five guys that can defend the post", that left nowhere for Detlef to play or go.

    As a starter, in 60 games he averaged 40 mpg and 18.3 ppg.

    In the other 22 off the bench, he averaged 32 mpg and 20.4 ppg.

    Things got worse overall when he started.

    They were 0.500 and improving before the trade, and plateau'ed at 0.500 after the trade. Safe to say it just didn't work while overall depleting the talent level of the team.

    Chemistry was better without Micheal Williams gambling for too many steals or shooting too many pull-up jumpers with Chuck and Reggie standing there with open hands, ready for the ball. The 1992 season was when I decided that PGs should only shoot layups, nothing else, and my honeymoon with Micheal Williams was short-lived. He was what we needed on the court in 1991, and a stat-stuffing disaster in 1992.

    Reggie and Chuck were not perpetuating the "one or the other" talk. That was the media's/ fan's perception. That may have happened with other players in other eras, but those two seemed to genuinely enjoy the presence of each other on and off the court. Would love to just listen in when Rifleman, Barkley and Reggie get together now and talk about old times. That has to be hilarious.
    Why do the things that we treasure most, slip away in time
    Till to the music we grow deaf, to God's beauty blind
    Why do the things that connect us slowly pull us apart?
    Till we fall away in our own darkness, a stranger to our own hearts
    And life itself, rushing over me
    Life itself, the wind in black elms,
    Life itself in your heart and in your eyes, I can't make it without you


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  38. #24
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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    I saw him play many times. This write up is a very good account of Person and the Pacers during that time. My small story was during his rookie year he hit a 35 foot 3 to win a game at MSA and the guy in front of me stood up and yelled "I"M SORRY I BOOED YOU ON DRAFT NITE!!!!"
    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoJ View Post
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    I'd much rather talk about '91 than the season we don't discuss in that other thread.



    For history purposes, the Pacers in the mid-80's were the walking dead. With Herb Williams and Clark Kellogg as their starting forwards, and an absolutely wretched backcourt, they managed 94 wins over a four year period. Yes. Jim O'Brien's worst season was still better than their best season.

    They started picking up some young talent in the draft - Stipo, Fleming, Tisdale.

    Finally Donnie Walsh was promoted to GM. His first moves were hiring Dr. Jack Ramsay and drafting Rifleman. He signed John Long as a FA to play SG. The culture of the team changed immediately.

    Then they got their blessing in disguise - Kellogg's knees were shot. Rifleman stepped into the starting lineup as a rookie, was a landslide rookie of the year winner. A big win in Phoenix that season (when we were all accostomed to going 0fer on west coast trips) was punctuated by Chuck's 42 points - 18 for 23 from the floor including 6-6 from behind the arc. Chuck also made more game winning shots as a rookie than most players make in a career.

    That team made the playoffs for the second time in the Pacers' NBA history against the loaded Atlanta Hawks. Chuck and Dominique instantly had a nice rivalry. That team also had Doc Rivers, Spud Webb, Tree Rollins and Kevin Willis. How Fratello and later Wilkens never got more out of them, I don't know.

    The Pacers first NBA playoff win ever was game #3. Rifleman led the team with 23 (0-1 from behind the arc), 17 and 7.

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/...704290IND.html

    MSA was rocking.

    In game #4, Rifleman dropped 40 again, on only 27 FGA (including 0-3 on 3's). That was his 40 second 40-point game a rookie. He also added 7 rebounds and six assists. The 40 points would be a franchise (NBA) playoff record until Reggie scored 41 in game #5 against the Bucks (2000).

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/...705010IND.html

    The point of this part of the history lesson is that many will come on here and tell you that Chuck was only a one-deminsional long-range bomber. That may have become true, but it was a coaching prophesy that became self-perpetuated.

    Chuck teased us with what the Pacers could actually become.

    A certain percentage of Indiana basketball fans didn't like it though. The Pacers were supposed to be the local punching bags to beloved Larry Bird and the Celtics.

    The next season ended with the Knicks eliminating the Pacers for the #8 seed on the very last day of the season. A young rookie kid named Miller played off the bench behind John Long and averaged 10 points per game.

    The following year, Stipo's knees were shot.

    A young rookie C named Smits was not ready to play but thrust into the lineup.

    Dr. Jack had all he could take and retired. Mel Danies wanted nothing to do with the HC job. George Irvine happened yet again and went 6-14, by far the highest winning percent of his coaching career.

    And then Q-tip-head was hired.

    At that point, Rifleman's three year run was 19P, 8R, 4A; 18P, 7R, 4A; and 22P, 7R, 4A.

    Dick Versace decided Rifleman could/ should only shoot 3's. While Chuck had a range on his jumper out to almost the timeline, he was also somewhat judicious in when he used the 3 point shot - saving it for big moments. Even while logging heavy minutes, he only took a couple 3FGAs per game (up to 2.6 in the third year which was boosted by Versace parking him at the 3point line.)

    Naturally, his rebounding took a tumble since he was away from the basket, and his reasonably efficient two-point shot started to fade away from his game.

    The Pacers also picked up Detlef Schrempf, and while Det was the sixth man his offensive versatility made him one of the key go-to guys. And they'd had all of Herb Williams' turnovers they could take, and in came Tank Thomspon as well.

    Vern-Reggie-Chuck-Tank-Smits found themselves in the 1990 playoffs getting clobbered by Detroit. Chuck had a lousy series.

    Rifleman built a mansion on Geist. Chuck was tape junkie, and had installed multiple satellite dishes (remember, this was before the League Pass) so that he could watch every game and take notes on tendencies of the other SFs. Reggie built a mansion next door (not the one that burned). There was a cool NBA on NBC halftime feature in this era on their houses, and how they'd walk next door to shoot pool against each other.

    The next season got off to lousy start, and Versace was canned (thank God) and Bo Hill took over. The day after Bo Hill was named coach, Reggie signed a huge contract extension. Up until then, the rumor was that he wanted to go back to LA and play with Magic. After signing that contract extension, Reggie began moving away from his "Hollywood" nickname.

    Realizing that his young guns were more likely to play good defense if their offensive games were on, Bo emphasized ball movement and offense and probably maximized that team's potential. The Bird-Person rivalry had been gathering heat to match the Person-Wilkens rivalry. To the point where Chuck called out the Indianapolis fans that were booing when Rifleman outplayed Bird in a regular season game. This one:

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/...102240IND.html

    Chuck was a legendary trash talker, as was Bird. That actually became a rallying cry for the Pacers fans, but the action in the stands was every bit as intense as the action on the court.

    At 41-41, which was a solid recovery after Versace started the season at 9-16, the Pacers and Celtics met in the playoffs.

    The Pacers blew out the C's in Game #2, behind Chuck's 39 points on just 24 shots (16-24 overall, including a red-hot 7-10 from behind the arc. But hey, that's also 9-14 inside the arc in a playoff game so again ignore those "he was just a three-point specialist" remarks)

    http://www.basketball-reference.com/...104280BOS.html

    There is a contingent of us that would love to get this particular game of this series onto the NBA Classics rotation.

    Game #3 was UGLY. MSA was ready to explode. And Bird, McHale, and Parrish were ready to play defense. Chuck was awful. Just awful. 2-6 from the floor for six points.

    Game #4 was a different story. Chuck erupted for 30 and Reggie added 27. The series went back to Boston tied at 2. And MSA was at its all-time loudest.

    Dale Raterman, long time marketing director for the Pacers, describes Game #4 like this:


    http://www.nba.com/pacers/news/msa_s..._tabs_social=2



    I'll tell you from personal experience the following stories. I had 15th-row seats, across from the C's bench. When we parked in the lot at Arena Sporting Goods that night, the young "kid" (probably my age, I was a junior in college at the time) got out of the car wearing a Bird jersey and Pacers cap. Jay's_Dad@Section222 used his football coach's voice and said, "Young man, you are going to have to make up your mind before you walk into that arena. Us or them?" The kid was so intimidated he took off his Bird jersey and left it in the car.

    At some point in the second half Rifleman hit a big shot, changing the momentum. The C's were going to call timeout after advancing the ball to halfcourt, but McHale passed to Bird or vise versa, Chuck intercepted the pass, dribbled about 15 feet for a 1 on 3 slow "fast" break, stopped and put a 28-footer right through the middle of the net. Now the C's called timeout and Chuck took a lap around MSA pounding his chest, further electrifying the 1/2 of the crowd that was cheering for the Pacers. The other 1/2 of the crowd was insulted that Chuck could show up their hero. In all of the years of going to games with a father that is a coach... well, he just doesn't cheer. He watches, and takes it all in, thinking about what his next move would be. I've gotten fewer than five high-fives from him in 35 years of going to Pacers games together. And that shot was one of them.

    During either that timeout, or the quarter break mentioned above, the guy in a Green #33 jersey sitting behind me told me to sit down. This so-infuriated Jay's_Fiance@Section222 that she started yelling back at him. "At least he's cheering for the home team." Yep, she's a keeper.

    Anyway, re-read that description above. Such a game.

    Off to game five, the damn game we do get watch on NBA Classics. Stupid Larry Bird comes back after almost breaking his ugly face. And Rifleman has a great chance to send it to overtime and misses the biggest shot of his career. Chuck finished with 32 and the three-headed second options of Detlef, Micheal Williams and Reggie each had more than 20 in that game.

    The Pacers did not regain the magic the following season. They struggled instead of breaking out. Young Dale Davis gradually replaced Tank Thompson. There were two players in the league that averaged 20-5-5 - Bird and Pippen. Or as Chuck likes to describe it, there were three players in the league that season that averaged 19-5-5 - Bird, Pippen and Rifleman.

    But they were swept by Boston. Then Donnie Walsh outsmarted himself by trading Rifleman and Micheal Williams for a pile of Pooh (Richardson) and some spare change. The idea was that Detlef would be the team's new go-to guy. But that team also didn't really get its act together either and Bo Hill's contract was not renewed. Larry Brown came in, decided it was time for it to be Reggie's team and traded Detlef for McKey. Smits was finally ready to be a starter (you'll notice in that '91 series that Dreiling was starting ahead of Smits to keep Rik out of foul trouble). Antonio Davis was picked up, along with Workman. And Larry Brown had a vastly different team than Bo Hill's final season. But they got off to an awful start, 1-6, then up to 5-10, and still just 11-17 in early January and only 16-23 in late January before it clicked and they finished 31-12 over the last 2.5 months. Oh yeah, something else happened in there - Byron Scott signed and made it his personal mission to teach Reggie and the team what it meant to be winners.

    Meanwhile, Chuck was banished to Minnesota where he was not part of their future. As a free-agent, he signed with San Antonio and was reunited with Bo Hill. Bo used him a lot at PF, and suddenly Chuck was back up to 5 rpg (and the second highest per-36 rebound rate of his career). Late during training camp of Chuck's second season in SA, there was a mishap at either the takeoff or landing of the team's charter plane. Chuck's back was wrecked. He only missed two games that year, but then he subsequently missed the entire following season. But he was in good company. David Robinson missed 70+ games, and Sean Elliott and Charles Smith each missed most of the season. With the exception of Will Purdue, that was the entire front court. Bo Hill got canned, they drafted Duncan, and the rest has been SA history. During the season that Chuck missed due to injury, the players responded to an ESPN or SI survey and one of the questions was "who's the best trash talker?" Chuck finished in the top-four. Hang on to this story... If you saw my comments in the Jalen Rose thread- that was also the Season We Do Not Discuss, and Rifleman spent the year rehabbing at his home in Geist, was seen at numerous Pacers games, and was paying Roger Brown's medical bills.

    After one more year in SA, Chuck was traded to Chicago, cut immediately, and spent the lockout year in Charlotte.

    He played one more season in Seattle. During the season, Gary Payton was asked about talking trash, and told the reporter he didn't think he was the even the best trash talker on his team. "Chuck Person missed an entire season and was still one of the top vote getters -- how can I top that?"

    The eight-seeded Sonics playoff run ended in Utah in game #5 in a three-point loss. Chuck Person played one minute of Game #5, and was 0-1. Gary Payton threw him the ball for the last shot that looked eerily similar to that Game #5 loss in Boston a decade earlier. Here's how SI and Paul Westphal described the last shot of Chuck's career:



    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/bas...sonics_gm5_ap/


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  40. #25
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    Default Re: share your Chuck Person stories

    Quote Originally Posted by QuickRelease View Post
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    My favorite memory of Chuck was actually when he got kicked out of a game. He took the ball and kicked it into the stands. Someone threw the ball back onto the court. Chuck took the ball and kicked it into the stands again. I still laugh about that to this day.
    THAT WAS AWESOME!

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