The Pacers’ New Jerseys Pay Homage To Hoosiers, The Best Basketball Film Ever Made

Photo: Celeste Ballou/

In a case of life imitating art, the Indiana Pacers’ revealed new alternate jerseys based on a fictional high school basketball team. Still with us? Good. The team’s new “Hickory” uniforms are inspired by those worn by the Hickory High School basketball team in the 1986 film Hoosiers, quite possibly one of the best underdog stories of our time. The announcement was made in partnership with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios as the movie enters its 30th year, perfect timing for a silver screen tie-in.

Fans will be able to see the instantly recognizable red and gold kits in action starting the 2015-16 season. After that, the Pacers will break out the uniforms during select regular-season games over the next few years. One thing they won’t see, however, are the film’s agonizingly tight short shorts—the marketing team had to make some exceptions.

“Our team will be honored to wear the Hickory uniforms because of the attention it will bring to the storied history of Indiana basketball and the success of that movie,” said Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird on “Hoosiers takes us all back to a special place and time.”

The partnership is a first of its kind, and was spearheaded by their Vice President for Sales and Marketing Todd Taylor, who believes the real-life roster has many qualities in common with the fictional ballers.

“While the uniform being worn in front of a worldwide audience is thrilling, we are equally excited about the additional opportunities the partnership provides both on and off the court,” said Taylor. “The Miracle Men of Milan are just one of the legendary basketball stories in the state. We look forward to drawing attention to the contributions and accomplishments of those that have made Indiana synonymous with the game of basketball.”

Indeed, the timeless classic’s connection to Indiana basketball runs deep. The film is based on a real-life Indiana High School state championship team from a tiny town just west of Cincinnati called Milan. It was also written and directed by two native hoosiers: Angelo Pizzo and David Anspaugh.

Interestingly, the nostalgia may be lost on much of the Pacers’ current roster. Unlike George Hill, the NBA vet tapped to model the apparel for the announcement, many of the players on the team were born after the film’s debut and may not know the film at all.

If the experiment goes as planned, we expect that basketball fans old and young alike will be able appreciate the film for what it meant to the generations who’ve seen it.
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