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Sam "Big Smooth" Perkins Latest To Be Taken Behind The Wood Shed By Pacers

Austin Croshere, watch your back. Anyone associated with the 2000 Indiana Pacers needs fair warning that the axe is coming down.

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.