Indiana Pacers talk about being superstitious
by Mike Wells, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Pacers center Ian Mahinmi will make the phone call prior to leaving Bankers Life Fieldhouse after the team’s morning shootaround Wednesday. He’ll head north on College Avenue, where he’ll stop at the same restaurant he has been frequenting before every home game this season.
Mahinmi will run in and grab his takeout order of Chicken Alfredo pasta and a side Caesar salad before going home to eat and take a pregame nap.
If he’s on the road, the restaurant will change but the routine stays the same.
He’s not alone.
For coach Frank Vogel, it’s more about being superstitious. He has no interest in wearing a pink dress shirt again after the team lost to the struggling Toronto Raptors last month. To no surprise, Vogel likes to play the odds. Ties, shirts, hotels, even the coaching office on the road.
“If there’s a 50-50 decision to make, something I’m really on the fence about, both are good hotels, if we won there last time, we’ll stay there,” Vogel said. “We had a chance to change hotels in Minnesota and I asked if we won there last year, we did so we stayed there again this season. I tried to change the coaches’ office in the Oklahoma City locker room (earlier this week) because we got blitzed there last season, but they already had the food set up so we couldn’t change it.”
Did that have anything to do with the Pacers’ 104-93 loss that night? Probably not. But if a player or coach just thinks a certain ritual or superstition helps, it can have a positive effect.
Swingman Paul George has been wearing the same colorful aqua Nikes the past four games. Not coincidentally, he’s playing some of his best basketball of the season, averaging almost 24 points in those games.
“It really comes down to what shoe is out now or what shoe is comfortable that night,” said George, who had been changing his sneakers regularly. “I’ve probably worn the aqua blues longer than I’ve worn any shoe all season. I’m rolling with them. It’s all about if the shoe feels comfortable and if … [For more on Indiana Pacers talk about being superstitious, click here.]