It seems like every week I vent about the Pacers. It’s not because I want to or because I’m employed to, it’s because if I don’t get out my frustrations about this team then all that will be left is the apathy. Many have already become apathetic, how could you not? The team is floundering 10 games under .500, in the middle of a five-game losing streak and is currently dealing with multiple players in COVID protocols. Even when those players return and the roster is full it’s not like this team was contending for anything prior to it. A blessing in disguise may be that because of COVID protocols the Pacers brought back Lance Stephenson with a 10-day contract. It’s pretty rare that such a beloved fan favorite can be a 10-day contract guy but that’s exactly the state of the Pacers at the moment. Lance brings a toughness, a swagger and a throwback mentality that this organization has sorely lacked in recent years.
“Born Ready” isn’t just a nickname, it’s a lifestyle for the now 31-year old Stephenson and you better believe the Pacers fans that file into Gainbridge Fieldhouse tonight when the blue and gold take on the Brooklyn Nets will shower him with praise. Stephenson is a fan favorite for bringing a fire and personality to a team that desperately needed it. He feels like the last man standing when it comes to the previous decade of Pacers basketball. Paul George has famously moved on to multiple teams, Danny Granger/Roy Hibbert/David West/George Hill are all either retired or on other teams while Lance still seems to always just be an injury away from being back in a Pacers uniform despite being away from Indiana since the 2017-18 season. He’s Mr. Reliable. Are his stats going to blow you away? Not likely. But is he going to give you your money’s worth on a game in and game out basis? You bet your ass he is, which is why he’s so adored among the Pacer faithful. That and the fact that he’s a professional LeBron agitator.
Michael Grady, who spent years on the Indianapolis airwaves in and around all things Pacers and Lance Stephenson joined the Kevin & Query show on Wednesday to talk about the team he currently covers, the Brooklyn Nets, the return of Kyrie Irving and more. But when even the mention on Lance Stephenson came back, you could hear the smile in Grady’s voice as he talked about why Lance is so revered here.
Stephenson has played two games since returning to the Pacers, both on the road. Tonight, he gets to be back in front of the home crowd in a Pacers jersey for the first time since April 29, 2018. The national cameras will be in attendance for Kyrie Irving but the attention will go to the man they call “Born Ready”.
For all things Pacers & Colts, be sure to listen to Kevin & Query every weekday morning from 7-10 on 93.5 & 107.5 The Fan!