Reggie Miller: Roger Brown built Pacers
by Curtis Harris, Special to The Indianapolis Star
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Roger Brown became a Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer on Sunday, with another Hall of Famer telling people what the former Indiana Pacers superstar in the old ABA meant to the franchise.
“People say that I put the Indiana Pacers on the map,” Reggie Miller said. “No, it all started with Roger Brown.”
Brown, who died in 1997, was presented by Miller and Hall of Famer Mel Daniels, a teammate of Brown’s.
Brown’s daughter, Gayle Brown Mayes, called it “a really special day” but “bittersweet” because of her father’s absence.
During the induction, Mayes was on the stage with Brown’s son, Roger Jr., plus Miller and Daniels.
Brown Jr. spoke on behalf of the family in a video played at the induction. He thanked Miller and Daniels, saying, “There is nothing more bestowing than having two Pacers legends usher in a fellow Pacer legend through the doors of the Hall of Fame.”
Brown Jr. noted that many fans don’t know about his father because his prime years as a professional were taken away unjustly by the NBA because of his association with a gambler and game fixer. No charges were ever brought and there is no evidence that Brown did anything wrong.
“Roger Brown, No. 35, continues to exist in the hearts and minds of those fortunate few who actually got a chance to watch him play and work his magic in New York, Dayton — and in particular, the outstanding Indiana Pacer fans of the American Basketball Association,” Brown Jr. said.
Brown won three ABA titles with the Pacers. He was the first player in ABA history to score more than 10,000 points.
Brown Jr. thanked Indianapolis filmmaker Ted Green for his “unwavering commitment and dedication” while making the 2013 documentary Undefeated: The Roger Brown Story.
“From basketball exile to Basketball Hall of Fame — a tremendous journey that has come full circle and is now complete,” Brown Jr. said.