Lance Stephenson is preparing for the worst when he takes the court at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to play against his former team as a member of the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.
The Pacers defense? Making shots? Avoiding crossing the line with referees?
Nope, these aren't concerns for Lance. The main concern is how he'll be received by the fans who used to cheer his big plays on the court and chuckle at all the other stuff when he was wearing blue and gold.
According to this great story from Candace Buckner, Lance is curious to see how the fans react.
"I swear I think I'm going to get booed, because I don't know if they think I'm the bad guy in my decision making," Stephenson says, "but I definitely wasn't the bad guy, so I don't know how they're going to take that."
"I was really into the fans there. When I first got there I had the little incident, they didn't know how to embrace me. They didn't really like me when I first came in and then I had to grow on them and once I grew on them, they learned my game, how I am on and off the court. They really embraced me there. I really loved the fans there."
Anyone dabbling in pop psychology may have a good time rolling through this article as both Lance and his father Lance, Sr. appear hung up on the crowd reaction. With the free agent move to Charlotte, they felt like they did what they had to do in light of the Pacers unwillingness to negotiate.
Live with it, own it and don't worry about what anyone thinks.
Honestly, Lance gave the Pacers their money's worth while with Indy and I've personally seen how he treated folks off the court, especially kids. Lots of those people remember Lance for more than what he did on the court. Anyone with a realistic grasp on the situation with the Pacers and/or some kind of positive interaction with Lance couldn't possibly want to boo him.
That leaves the knucklehead set with a few beers giving them courage to let it out on the opponent. Can't think of any other reason to boo Lance during his initial return to BLF. Can you?