Who is to say whether a college or university is a "football school" or a "basketball school"? When you say North Carolina you think basketball, and when you say Alabama you think football. Then there are those that could be considered both, such as Texas, Florida, and Tennessee.
The same holds true for some cities and their professional sports teams. Detroit loves their football, but they follow their Pistons more than the Lions. Philadelphia is closer to their Eagles than the 76ers. Fans in St. Louis obviously follow their Cardinals more than they do the Rams.
Perhaps there is no greater gap between successful professional franchises as the one that lies in the city of Indianapolis. The Pacers and Colts play their home games less than a mile from each other, but one is considered the top team in their league, while the other is towards the bottom. The funny thing is, not long ago, it was the other way around.
As the new decade begins tomorrow, it is easy to realize that this decade was owned by the Colts. The decade before this one (1990-1999) was easily dominated by the Pacers.
The common theme with each franchise during their dominant years is the star "franchise" player for each. The Pacers were led by Reggie Miller, and now the Colts have been on Peyton Manning's shoulders this entire decade.
During the Pacers' best years, they got to the NBA Finals once where they eventually fell to Kobe, Shaq, and the Lakers. Who knows how many more Finals appearances they might have had, had it not been for some guy in Chicago that wore #23. It seemed that the Pacers were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Playoffs every year by MJ.
Some would argue the biggest fight in sports history (Brawl at The Palace) was the point where the Pacers began their great fall. Ever since Ron Ron went into the stands to punch the wrong person in the face, the Pacers have never sniffed the playoffs. Look at their roster today, and all you can really do is shake your head.
Peyton Manning's first year in Indianapolis ended with a 3-13 season, but entering his third season with the Colts, they have been arguably one of the best three teams in the NFL every single year. The Colts have a Super Bowl win this decade and are looking for their second this year, which is more success than the Pacers can claim.
When most people think about sports in Indiana, basketball is usually what comes to mind. Now thanks to Ron Artest, Jamaal Tinsley, and Kelvin Sampson, basketball is usually over before the season is officially finished.
While the city is split 99% Colts and 1% Pacers, there is nothing I would rather see than for the Pacers and Indiana Hoosiers to get back to the top of the basketball world.
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