Jalen Rose has plenty of current beefs stemming from his first season with the Indiana Pacers, even if that came well over a decade ago.
Between Reggie Miller refusing to acknowledge him and Larry Brown trying to run him out of the league, it doesn't exactly sound as though the standout swingman enjoyed his time with the Indiana Pacers, which began in 1996. You can hear him discussing that portion of his career below, via Grantland, and it's worth listening from 9:10 until about 21 minutes in:
The problem, in Rose's opinion, was that his method of arrival wasn't exactly going over well with Miller and Brown. The two incumbents were good friends with Mark Jackson, who was part of the trade that brought Rose onto the Pacers.
On top of that, Rose went to Michigan, while Brown had North Carolina connections. Of course, that was automatically going to pit them against each other, and that came to a head during the fourth game of the season.
Against a Washington Bullets team that featured Juwan Howard and Chris Webber, two friends and former teammates of Rose, the third-year pro played only four minutes. You can see the box score here, and it is curious that the outing is sandwiched between four games in which Rose played at least 20 minutes.
Overall, Rose's playing time really did decrease during his first season with the Pacers:
|Was Rose a Thorn in Brown's Side?|
|MPG||Games Played||Games Started|
|1995-96 (with Denver)||26.7||80||37|
|1996-97 (with Indiana)||18.0||66||6|
Was it Brown's doing? Of course, seeing as he was the coach. But there's no telling whether it really was a personal vendetta stemming from the trade that involved Jackson.
Based on one key piece of information, it might not have been. Well, the vendetta may still have existed, but not necessarily because of a certain now-former coach of the Golden State Warriors.
Jackson was traded away from the team during the offseason before the 1996-97 campaign, but he was back before the regular season came to an end. The Denver Nuggets traded him to his original location after 50 games, and the transaction took place on Feb. 20.
So, did Rose's playing time change after Feb. 20? After all, Brown and Miller should've been appeased after Jackson was back on the roster.
Before the trade, Rose was averaging 17.3 minutes per game. After M-Jax was brought back onto the roster, the man who became one of the greatest basketball players to never make an All-Star team saw his playing time jump up to 19 minutes per game.
Is that really a significant change? It's hard to tell, though it doesn't seem so when you consider the fact that Rose was playing 20.6 minutes per contest during the 18 games just prior to the trade. This seems like a classic case of correlation that doesn't have any sort of causation.
Maybe Rose is bitter and stirring up a bit of trouble. Maybe he's accurate, and Brown really was trying to run him out of the league. There was a string of 14 games when he did not play, after all.
In my opinion, the truth lies somewhere in between, seeing as Rose claims Miller still won't talk to him and has a number of specific stories about the relevant parties.
"The Pacers had traded Mark Jackson to the Denver Nuggets for Rose after the 1996 season," wrote Ira Berkow for The New York Times a few years later. "Rose had entered the National Basketball Association as one of the cocky Fab Five crew from the University of Michigan, and in his two years with Denver did little to dispel a reputation as a spoiled brat, arguing at times with Dan Issel, his coach there."
It's hard to imagine that either side is blameless. But which is more to blame?
You'll have to watch the video and decide for yourself.
Note: All stats, unless otherwise indicated, come from Basketball-Reference.com.