Indiana Pacers

Roger Brown became a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer on Sunday, with another Hall of Famer telling people what the former Indiana Pacers superstar in the old ABA meant to the franchise.

“People say that I put the Indiana Pacers on the map,” Reggie Miller said. “No, it all started with Roger Brown.”

Brown, who died in 1997, was presented by Miller and Hall of Famer Mel Daniels, a teammate of Brown’s.

Brown’s daughter, Gayle Brown Mayes, called it “a really special day” but “bittersweet” because of her father’s absence.

During the induction, Mayes was on the stage with Brown’s son, Roger Jr., plus Miller and Daniels.

Reported by Curtis Harris, special to the Indianapolis Star

Brown was the first player to sign a contract with the Pacers when they were formed in 1967, based on the recommendation of Oscar Robertson, who had played against him in off-season pickup games. Although 25 years old when the ABA was formed, and already operating on knees softened from playing so many games on asphalt and concrete, he was a first-team all-ABA selection in 1971, played in four All-Star games and was a member of the Pacers’ three championship teams. He was coming off the bench by the third one, in 1973, was traded away in 1974 and retired after playing 10 games with the Pacers at the end of the 1974-75 season.

His shining moment, however, came in the 1970 ABA Finals when the Pacers defeated the Los Angeles Stars in six games for their first title. He averaged 28.5 points in the series and scored 53 in a win in L.A. He also once hit all 14 shots in a game, and was one of the game’s greatest clutch players. Pacers coach Slick Leonard often sent the other four players to one side of the court and let Brown go one-on-one for clutch baskets.

Reported by Mark Montieth of