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The Brawl's Impact on Pacers Officially Over

As I mentioned in my NBA Blog Previews post, this is the year the Pacers are finally showing signs of new growth out of the desolate landscape leftover from The Brawl. With a new voice leading the team, plenty of new faces, and a different style of play there aren't any more Brawl-related remnants lingering around to ruin the atmosphere. So far, the preseason has really lifted my NBA spirits regardless of the challenging season that lies ahead. I can't adequately explain the feeling but there is definitely a sense of renewal around the Pacers.

Now we even have some perfectly symbolic words from Ron Artest to close the book on The Brawl once and for all (hat tip: Bethlehem Shoals at The Fanhouse). Ronnie talked with the Sacramento Bee for his annual turning-over-a-new-leaf article. As usual, all sounds great in Ronnie's world (and for the record I love Ronnie, but this annual rite of preseason is getting comical), but there is one thing different about this article with Ronnie's comments on his past, present and future. Ronnie actually expresses some contrition for his part in the Brawl and his subsequent actions with the Pacers.

Artest, who spent much of the offseason in Sacramento fulfilling court-mandated community service obligations, traveled to Kenya and Honduras for what he described as life-altering charity missions. In an ongoing act of contrition, he also renewed acquaintances with Pacers executives Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh while working out at the team's practice facility in Indianapolis. The chance meeting only intensified his remorse, said Artest, who also said he feels particularly badly for returning from his lengthy suspension for his part in the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills, and shortly thereafter demanding a trade.

"I let Bird down," he said. "They treated me like family, you know. It was just me being egotistical and immature. But all I can do is go on. Right now I want to see the Kings getting it back, making the playoffs. I just remember it wasn't that long ago that we were a good team."
That's all any of us can do, Ronnie, is "go on." It will be interesting to see if Ronnie can keep it together in a contract year and then if any team will be willing to give him a contract to match his actual on court value.

But that's future story yet to be written. We're here today to close the book on a past chapter in Pacers' history that will never be forgotten but should also never hold back the organization again. Don't get me wrong, all of the clouds haven't cleared (more talent?) but at least some light can get through to help nourish the new growth. So consider this my final post that looks back to the Palace to explain anything impacting the current situation with the Pacers.

Ahhh, I feel better already.