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Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis Hardcover – October 5, 2017
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 1.8 pounds
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0998729809
- ISBN-13 : 978-0998729800
- Dimensions : 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
- Publisher : Halfcourt Press (October 5, 2017)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #297,093 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Greg Lucas, Pacer radio voice 1986-87
I recommend this book obviously to anyone interested in the Pacers, a professional basketball team in the NBA. It is a great history of how the ABA started and the challenges they faced. Pacer fans will learn some history behind the names hanging from the rafters at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. I for one did not know anything about Freddie Lewis or Roger Brown besides the fact they played for the Pacers.
I also recommend this to anyone who wants to revisit, indirectly, the history of Indianapolis in the 1960's. Many of the people associated with the start of the ABA and the Pacers are names that I grew up hearing about as the movers and shakers of Indy. Also I had not heard of the Olympians.
Finally what is also discussed in the book is what it was like to be black in the 60's in Indy. This is dealt with indirectly through stories of travel and housing problems the team faced.
Mark promises to write a second book; the years the Pacers were dominate in the ABA. I look forward to reading it.
Reborn covers so many topics so well that anyone with an interest in college or professional basketball is likely to find much to love and to learn. As a former college player and high school coach, the sections on coaching methods and player personalities resonated most clearly for me, especially those involving Roger Brown. I was a sophomore forward warming the bench at the University of Dayton in 1960-61, the year Brown was an incredibly talented basketball recruit from New York City playing on UD’s freshman team. Coach Tom Blackburn often talked of him as “the next Oscar Robertson.” That year, like no other, fans filled the Fieldhouse by 6:30 on the nights of Flyer varsity games to see the preliminary freshmen game, that is, to see Roger play.
As Montieth tells the story, soon after the 1960-61 basketball season, 19-year-old Brown was, in effect, banned for life from college basketball and the NBA. The author rightly points out that Roger was an “…unwitting victim of the latest attempt by political figures to sweep gambling out of college basketball.” Brown worked in a factory in Dayton from ages 20 to 25, six of his prime basketball years, yet when given the opportunity by the ABA Pacers he was able to regain enough of his basketball prowess to put together an 8-year, hall-of-fame professional career (1967-1975).
Throughout Reborn, Montieth makes effective use of humor, human interest, and sports drama to add appeal to what could be dry history. Anyone who has lived in Indianapolis through consecutive winter and spring seasons will appreciate general manager Mike Storen’s joke that the second choice for the team’s nickname was “Potholes.”
I loved the story of Jerry Harkness’s (more-or-less) 90-foot hook shot at the final buzzer that gave the Pacers a one-point win in Dallas early in their first season. That the shot went in is almost unbelievable. For it to result in a walk-off win in the infancy of the three-point rule is just fantastic. Montieth embellishes the event with a hilarious, several-page description of all the hubbub among fans, players, coaches, and officials after the winning shot.
Coincidentally, 78-year-old Harkness’s memoir Connections will be published in June 2018. Once again, Jerry’s timing is impeccable as he is coming off a recent period of unusual national attention. His alma mater, Loyola of Chicago, advanced to the final four in 2018 for the first time since the Harkness-led Ramblers were 1963 NCAA champs.
As for Montieth’s future goals, “I hope to produce a book on the remaining ABA seasons…” and another on earlier professional basketball teams in Indianapolis. “Reborn ideally will become the middle volume of a trilogy.” I strongly recommend Reborn and hope to be among the first to read his trilogy.
Hal Schoen is author of Growing Up, Farm Life & Basketball in the 1940s & '50s.