By Reinis Lacis (@LamarMatic)
“Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis” is a recently released book which I enjoyed very much. Its author Mark Montieth joined me on the podcast to talk about the many topics concerning it. The first professional basketball teams in Indianapolis, accuracy of ABA stories and getting them factually correct in “Reborn”, the storylines of Pacers players like Reggie Harding – all of that and more is discussed in this episode.
Topics discussed in the podcast:
01:45 – The positive reception of the book, releasing “Passion Play” on Purdue University’s basketball team in 1988, collecting material for “Reborn” ever since;
07:45 – The necessity of introductory chapters about the first professional basketball teams in Indianapolis, the fate of the Indianapolis Olympians and its stars Alex Groza and Ralph Beard, two reunions in the 1990s;
11:40 – It being 50 years since the first ABA season, Mark going to the games back then, choosing #34 for himself due to Mel Daniels, memories of Roger Brown living close by, Bill Keller as a player he liked;
14:00 – Using the notes of former owner John DeVoe while doing research, the only team photo of the first Indiana Pacers team, striving for accuracy in the book;
18:50 – The story of Slick Leonard going after Bob Netolicky with a hockey stick in Duluth, Minnesota and the various accounts about it;
24:40 – The degree to which local journalists were supportive of the Pacers, Bob Collins actually being involved during the inception of the franchise, Pacers organization intervening during when the team’s African American players suffered from housing discrimination;
31:35 – A chapter on Reggie Harding, him playing really well and being a liked guy despite his unreliability, other similar guys like Stephen Jackson whom Mark has covered;
38:00 – The impact such events as trying out for the original Pacers can have on one’s life, Indiana’s Mr. Basketball Larry Humes as a possible attraction for games, who didn’t ultimately make the team;
40:25 – Jerry Harkness‘s story, him quitting a very good job to give the ABA a shot, that turn of events changing his life despite him only playing one and a half seasons at Indiana, other guys who received a second chance;
49:10 – “Reborn” possibly being the second book of a trilogy, Mark currently collecting information on the first pro teams from Indiana.
The media related to the podcast:
Notable snippets of the interview:
Thanks to Mark for coming on the show and telling us more about his fantastic work!