Roger Brown's overdue enshrinement into the Hall of Fame today puts the great ABA Indiana Pacers teams to near completion with regards to immortalizing their presence in what's intended to be the celebration of basketball's greatest with Reggie Miller and Mel Daniels ushering in Brown posthumously. The enshrinement was accepted by Brown's son and daughter Roger Brown, Jr. and Gayle Brown Mays.
It's easy to overlook the enshrinement and be upset with the timing of the induction coming well after Brown's passing and well after Brown earned his place within the Hall of Fame as one of the ABA's All-Time Team's unanimous choices, but it does diminish the recognition that finally came. George Gervin and Julius Erving were quick to offer up praise of Brown's game, something that is best described as "smooth." Watching "Rajah's" highlights, it's easy to see how smooth he was in his game, and it is unfortunate that so many Pacers fans weren't able to watch and revel in Brown's game.
But as the original Pacer, the leader of the greatest franchise in the ABA, an unstoppable force, and winner of three championships, his legacy speaks for itself and should be recognized among the greatest in the game's history. As Reggie Miller said, "People say that I put that Indiana Pacers on the map. No. It all started with Roger Brown." There's plenty of additional material to celebrate Brown's life and career here on Indy Cornrows, and if all is right with the world, Mel and Rajah will be there to finally usher in their coach, Bobby "Slick" Leonard, next year.
In addition to Brown being ushered in by Reggie and Mel, Larry Bird and Frank Vogel were on hand to partake in the celebration. Bird served as the usher for Brazilian star Oscar Schmidt, who led Brazil to a Gold Medal upset over the United States during the 1987 Pan-Am Games in Indianapolis. Vogel was there to celebrate his teacher Rick Pitino on his own enshrinement, serving with Pitino while in Boston.
The past couple of years has helped validate the Indiana Pacers within the Hall of Fame. No longer is Indiana represented as a sub plot or career stop for players like Alex English, Adrian Dantley, and Chris Mullin, getting Reggie Miller, Mel Daniels, and now Roger Brown gives the Pacers the place they deserve within basketball history. Say what you will about needing an ABA committee to finally recognize the greatness of the league, at least the Hall of Fame is aiming to make things right. Now all that's missing is Slick Leonard.