Who could ever forget Chuck “The Rifleman” Person?
Person earned the moniker from the western television series starring his namesake, the actor Chuck Connors (Person’s full name is Chuck Connors Person).
And boy, could Person shoot the lights out just like what his famous nickname suggests.
Let’s go on a trip down memory lane and recall the history of Chuck Person.
Chuck Person Was An Incredible Deep-Range Threat
The Indiana Pacers made Chuck Person the fourth overall selection of the 1986 NBA Draft.
The Pacers had been in the NBA for a decade prior to drafting Person.
They averaged just 24 victories per season in the four years before Person joined the team.
He made an immediate impact – he averaged 18.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.6 assists on his way to earning 1987 NBA Rookie of the Year honors.
He never averaged fewer than 17 points in his six-year stint in Indy from 1986 to 1982.
Person made a living from the perimeter – he knocked down jumpers and three-pointers with uncanny consistency.
If you left Person wide open, it was a sure bet he’d make the shot.
He could had a decent post-up game: he knew how to manipulate smaller defenders down low.
While Person wasn’t a good defender, he made up for it with the other intangibles: rebounding, passing, and leadership.
Chuck Person and Reggie Miller were a formidable duo during their time together in Indy from 1987 to 1992.
If teams sagged off on Miller, Person made the opposition pay.
Person was also a durable player – in six seasons with Indiana, he missed an average of just two games per year.
His Most Memorable Moments In Pacers Blue And Gold
Person was one of the NBA’s most prominent trash talkers during his era.
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
Person also had a fiery temper.
He kicked a ball into the Chicago Stadium stands not once – but twice – during a game against the Bulls in 1991 after the official whistled him for a foul.
Referee Bill Oakes also gave Person a piece of his mind after he ejected him.
On the flip side, Person’s crowning moment in Pacers Blue and Gold was the 1991 first-round playoff series against Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics.
Person was in a zone for the most part.
He scored 39 points – including seven triples – in Game 2.
Person’s 30-point performance in Game 4 was the stuff of legends.
He scored 12 straight points in the second half to help the Pacers secure an exciting 116-113 victory.
Person had never heard the old Market Square Arena crowd that loud before.
Who could forget Person jawing with Bird all series long?
Regrettably, Indiana lost the series in five games.
En el partido que os conté el otro día con la épica actuación de Larry Bird hubo otros jugadores que destacaron. Los Pacers se mantuvieron en el partido gracias a la actuación de Chuck Person, entre otros. Un jugador acusado de irregular pero con mucha clase. pic.twitter.com/tivqFpcAm9
— Aro pasado (@AroPasadoBlog) September 21, 2018
If there was any consolation, Person’s Pacers’ teams of the early 1990s set the tone for their memorable playoff runs during that decade.
There’s Only One Rifleman In Pacers History
Person’s tenure in the Circle City ended when the Pacers traded him to the Minnesota Timberwolves following the 1991-92 NBA season.
Although Person spent just six seasons in Indianapolis, he helped turn a once-moribund Pacers franchise’s fortunes around.
The Rifleman’s legacy lives on forever.