Former Pacers GM, ABA Commissioner Mike Storen Dies at Age 84

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 8, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 8: General view of the Indiana Pacers logo at half court as action takes place during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on February 8, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers defeated the Lakers 89-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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Former American Basketball Association commissioner and original Indiana Pacers general manager Mike Storen died Thursday at the age of 84.

The Pacers released the following statement:

"Pacers Sports & Entertainment is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the first general manager of the Indiana Pacers, Mike Storen. It is impossible to overstate the impact Storen had on our franchise and the American Basketball Association, for which he would later serve as commissioner. He paved the way for the Pacers' eventual entry into the NBA by putting together a talented front office and assembling a roster led by eventual Hall of Famers Roger Brown and Mel Daniels.

"He hired Hall of Famer Bobby 'Slick' Leonard as head coach in the Pacers' second season, was instrumental in choosing the name 'Pacers,' designed the team's first logo and chose its blue and gold colors. Storen was the first captain of the ABA's flagship franchise and the foundation for the tradition of success the Pacers maintain to this day. We offer our most sincere condolences to his family."

Storen also owned the ABA's Memphis Sounds with musician Isaac Hayes and later became the Atlanta Hawks' general manager, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

Storen is the father of ESPN anchor Hannah Storm and father-in-law of NBC Sports play-by-play commentator Dan Hicks.

Storm tweeted the following tribute to her father Thursday:

Hannah Storm @HannahStormESPN

Rest In Peace Dad. You will be missed in so many ways. ♥️ https://t.co/6sA5w1CMzn

She closed by writing the following about Storen, who died from complications due to cancer:

"I am so grateful for all the time I had with him, and for all the time he spent with my daughters," Storm wrote in part. I learned so much from him, but more importantly, he set the example for the kind of parent I strive to be for my girls, one who lives their dreams in such a way that it inspires and enables your children to do the same.

"I am honored to continue to carry on his legacy through my own career in sports, and I know he was immensely proud to have a daughter who embraced his world and made a career for herself there too.

"Rest in peace, Dad. You will be missed in so many ways. I love you."

Wojnarowski reported that Storen played an instrumental part in helping four ABA teams (including the Pacers) merge with the NBA in 1976.

Storen also got involved with the "Toys for Tots" program when he was a United States Marine Corps captain, per Ben Walker of the Associated Press. Walker also noted that Storen, who he said was "known for his hearty laugh and creative mind," was a commissioner for the Continental Basketball Association.

Per Wojnarowski, he is survived by his wife Lynn, three children, two step-daughters and 14 grandchildren.