The Pacers team that won the 1970 ABA championship 50 years ago Monday wasn't the best of the franchise's three teams that won titles, but it had the most fun, the wildest ride, and the greatest impact on fans in Indianapolis, where a "major league" team had never won a championship.
It won more games than any other ABA Pacers team. It played in the franchise's first nationally televised games. It was feted in two parades, not to mention a ham and bean dinner. And then the players all went to Bermuda, where the star player crashed his mini-bike into someone's house.
In June, the Pacers' ownership paid for the players and their spouses to vacation in Bermuda. Art Becker had to miss it to attend his sister's wedding and Bob Leonard stayed behind to be with his college coach at Indiana University, Branch McCracken, who was near death in an Indianapolis hospital. Everyone else, however, had a typically fun time.
Oliver Darden and Billy Keller recall Roger Brown, of all people, losing control of his motorized mini-bike and riding over a mound and into a house. Mel Daniels' wife, Cecelia, ran her bike across the road into a cluster of bushes.