The Indiana Pacers have had more than their fair share of embarrassing moments in their 46-year NBA history.
That, in a nutshell, was the Pacers era under embattled head coach Jim O’Brien.
However, we will limit the scope of this article solely to business on the hardcourt and Pacers’ NBA franchise history since 1976.
We will also rank these moments according to their long-term repercussions on Pacers franchise history.
3. Chuck Person Kicking The Ball Into The Chicago Stadium Stands, 1991
Chuck “The Rifleman” Person was an outstanding shooter during his heyday with the Pacers.
The 1987 NBA Rookie of the Year could shoot the lights out if you dared him.
However, nobody ever knew Person had the potential to become an NFL kicker or punter.
Person showed his exceptional kicking prowess during a regular-season game against the Chicago Bulls in the 1990-91 NBA season.
The referee called the foul on Person.
An exasperated Person thought the foul was on Smits.
Officials teed Person up and that’s when it all went down.
Person summoned his inner Adam Vinatieri and booted the basketball into the Chicago Stadium stands not once – but twice.
Eps 9 and 10 of #TheLastDance.
Reggie is a terrible commentator but he makes for a great interview. His early Pacers team was punk as hell. Chuck Person got himself ejected in Chicago, punting the ball into the stands with ref Bill Oakes screaming at him pic.twitter.com/LGH8w44ISW
— Steve Smith (@stevesmithffx) May 18, 2020
Naturally, officials ejected him from the game.
Referee Bill Oakes got in Person’s face as he made his way to the locker room.
Person had many memorable moments in Pacers Blue and Gold.
Unfortunately, the kicking incident at Chicago Stadium was not one of his finest moments with the squad.
Pacers GM Donnie Walsh traded Person to the Minnesota Timberwolves a year later.
Nobody knows for sure if Person’s fiery temper had anything to do with it.
2. Trading Kawhi Leonard To The San Antonio Spurs For George Hill, 2011
The Indiana Pacers made Kawhi Leonard the 15th overall selection of the 2011 NBA Draft.
Fast forward 11 years later, Leonard has two NBA championship rings, two NBA Finals MVP awards, and five NBA All-Star berths.
Ironically, he never achieved those in Pacers Blue and Gold.
Hill for three prospects sounds preposterous more than a decade later.
What hurts even more was one of those prospects was a game-changer and franchise player who could’ve taken the Pacers to the next level.
Hill was a serviceable point guard who was really more of a shooting guard.
He was instrumental during the Pacers’ meteoric rise during the Paul George era.
Leonard and George could’ve taken the Pacers to greater heights in the 2010s.
Alas, it was nothing more than a pipe dream.
Today, Leonard and George are clicking on all cylinders with their hometown Los Angeles Clippers.
As for the Pacers, they just wrapped up their worst season in three decades.
1. The Malice At The Palace, 2004
The infamous “Malice at the Palace” in November 2004 has NBA experts asking questions to this very day.
What if Ben Wallace never shoved Ron Artest?
What if Ron Artest never reacted to a fan throwing a water cup at him on the scorer’s table?
What if Artest and Stephen Jackson never rushed the stands and pummeled several Detroit Pistons fans?
16 years ago today was the Malice at the palace. The day that changed the NBA forever pic.twitter.com/YQ3AFdMkuz
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) November 19, 2020
For one, the Pacers never would’ve gotten an awful reputation.
On that note, Miller would’ve earned that elusive championship ring.
The Pacers would’ve won their first title in NBA franchise history.
Alas, the Malice at the Palace hindered the Pacers’ path to greatness.
Although Indiana has had some impressive playoff runs in later years, the 2004-05 NBA season was their best shot at raising a championship banner in the old Conseco Fieldhouse.
It all crumbled in one fell swoop at the Palace of Auburn Hills in the fall of 2004.