I was able to speak some words on Reggie Miller and his enshrinement, but I can’t forget the other Pacers player to go into the Hall of Fame. Now Mel Daniels was a player before my time, but after hearing people talk about him and reading up on him, he was quite the player. He made those ABA Indiana Pacers teams hum.
I was in attendance for the final regular season game of the Pacers last season, and that last ABA championship team of the Pacers were honored. Mel Daniels was talked about the most, so you can see his legacy when it comes to the Pacers. Former coach Bobby Slick Leonard, who isn’t in the Hall of Fame yet but should be, spoke very highly of Mel Daniels right before he came out to be with that team.
Mel Daniels would end his playing career as a two time ABA MVP and was the ABA’s all time rebounding player. He would have his number 34 raised to the rafters as a retired number for the Indiana Pacers. That speaks highly enough for his career. His number will never be worn by another Pacers player.
He was part of those ABA days, where the Pacers won 3 ABA Championships, and hold the team record for most points in a game with 177. Mel Daniels was vital to those championships and just like Reggie Miller for putting Indiana on the map.
What a treat it is for Pacer fans to have their first two Hall of Famers enter at the same time. Two guys that were so important to their respective teams and the eras of what basketball was. Two guys who know what Indiana basketball could be and took it to new places. Those are the Pacer players that fans should remember. Those are the players that future Pacer players should strive to be.