One of the best fan favorites to ever don a Pacers' blue and gold uniform was shown the door this week, according to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star. Sam Perkins, who returned to the team's front office in 2008, will not continue his role of vice president of player relations for the organization any longer. Wells reports that Pacers Sports and Entertainment President Jim Morris fired Perkins, better known as Big Smooth, during a lunch meeting at a downtown restaurant Friday, but the firing would have taken place immediately following the season had Perkins not gone on vacation. Well, that was nice of the Pacers to at least wait to kill a man's career.
The firing at least shows the Pacers are willing to fire its employees despite recent concerns that the team had lost that asset due to the team's backing of coach Jim O'Brien. But, alas, Big Smooooooooth is no more at Conseco.
More thoughts and links after the jump.
Anyone who attended games at the Fieldhouse these past two years would always perk up when seeing the 6-foot-9 Perkins just standing (but actually sitting) amongst the crowd. I once sat behind two gentlemen (I'm using that term loosely) who spent the entire first quarter plotting their entrance and exit strategy for getting Perkins' autograph once they saw Big Smooth enter the section next to us. They sneaked attacked him from behind while Perkins was doing his job (schmoozing with consumers), and the guys got the autograph. But the great thing about Big Smooth was that he brought those guys into his conversations for the rest of the the half. He was laughing and apparently having a great time talking these two nobodies from my section. When they came back to their seats, the two guys acted like they had just had a 10-minute conversation with Jesus Christ. They were enlightened.
If the Pacers were actually winning, maybe I wouldn't be taking this so hard. I mean, I thoroughly enjoy losing seasons as much as the next guy, but just seeing and screaming "Big Smoooooth" at every home game whenever you saw the big man was terrific distraction to what was happening on the court.
Obviously, I have no idea if he was any good at his job. The Pacers seem to think that he wasn't. According to Wells, "Perkins' firing wasn't surprising, according to people I talked to Friday. It had actually been coming for quite some time. Perkins and a couple of members of the organization didn't see eye-to-eye over his role as VP of player relation and they didn't feel he was a good communicator."
Funny, he wasn't a good communicator, yet his degree from the University of North Carolina was in "communications" which tells me either the Pacers had other motives for firing him, or Perkins should have majored in general studies.
So yet another long and successful relationship with a former player ends tragically (thinking hard about Mel Daniels here). It'll be interesting to look back on these years someday and actually know what the hell was going on in this front office.
Time for today's links.
Larry Bird will build Pacers around his head coach
The Indianapolis Business Journal writes on the topic of Bird focusing his rebuilding efforts around the preferences of his head coach.
T.J. Ford Re-Signs: What Could This Mean For The Pacers?
Always Miller Time digests the information that T.J. Ford picked up his player option to remain with the Pacers for yet another thrilling season next year.
Andy Katz's Daily Word: Iowa State brings back Fred Hoiberg to put Cyclones back on track
ESPN's Andy Katz catches up with former Pacer Fred Hoiberg as he sets out to turn around Iowa State. Need an assistant Fred? Big Smooth is very available.
Michael Beasley's rocky stint with Miami Heat might be ending soon
Pacers fans have thrown around the idea of going after Michael Beasley, but the Washington Post reports that the Wizards appear to targeting the Miami forward extensively this offseason.
Chris Bosh asks Twitter followers: Should I stay, or should I go?
Ahh, Twitter. Always offering fun things from athletes. Chris Bosh considered his future options with his Twitter followers yesterday, asking which team would be a best fit for him next year.
Dirk Nowitzki: "Wouldn't feel the same putting on another uniform," but . . .
The Dallas Morning News reports that Dirk Nowitzki is taking this year's first-round exit extremely hard, and he's even putting out the option of playing for another team next year. Bird can surely trick Cuban into thinking Troy Murphy is the next best thing to Nowitzki, right?
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