Veteran Hoosier journalist Mark Montieth has woven a narrative that takes us back to those thrilling and tumultuous days that marked the beginning of the Indiana Pacers and the American Basketball Association. Not only does the story include the 1967 birth of the team and the league, but it goes back even further to a time in the early 1960s when the idea of a possible rival league to the established NBA began to formulate in the minds of some sports entrepreneurs.
Montieth presents an insider’s view of how the Pacers went from the pipe dream of some local Indianapolis businessmen to become the flagship team of the NBA. Reborn is a social history as well as a compelling sports story. It’s also an examination of the Indianapolis of the 1960s when it was referred to as “Naptown” or “India-No-Place.” — a Midwestern town that couldn’t decide if it wanted to become a dynamic major metropolis or remain a sleepy farm oriented community.
Mark Montieth is uniquely qualified to tell the story. He was a Pacer fan from their first game, and had a Journalism degree from Indiana University. He covered the Bobby Knight IU Hoosiers as a student journalist and the Pacers as a beat writer for the Indianapolis Star.
For me it was a trip back to my youth. As a high school sophomore at Arlington H.S., when the idea that the city had a “Big League” was a new and unusual one. It was a time when you could go to the Fairgrounds Colosseum and get a ticket to see a game for $3.The names Bobby Leonard, Roger Brown, Mel Daniels, Freddie Lewis, and Bob Netolicky were just starting to catch on as local sports heroes. The career of Jerry Harkness is examined. A college star who had gone into the business world as a successful salesman, Harkness returned to basketball as a Pacer to fulfill a lifelong dream and in doing so became a Pacers fan favorite.
If you are a Pacers fan, Reborn is a must read. If you are a student of the history of Indianapolis, Reborn is a must read. If you have any interest at all in sports journalism, Reborn is a must read. Hats off to Mark Montieth for authoring yet another engrossing, lively, and entertaining story about his home state’s preoccupation with BASKETBALL.
Come meet Mark Montieth this Saturday, October 7th at 2 p.m. at Bookmamas, 9 S. Johnson in Irvington and get an autographed copy of his book Reborn: The Pacers and the Return of Pro Basketball to Indianapolis. Montieth will be discussing his book and will be joined by Jerry Harkness himself.
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