Indianapolis – Lance Stephenson broke the hearts of Pacers fans when in 2014 he left in free agency and signed a 3-year $27 million dollar contract with the Charlotte Hornets. Stephenson’s time was short lived in Charlotte and the prodigal son came home in 2017 with 6 games to go in the regular season and the Pacers fighting to make the playoffs. The Pacers won 5 of the 6 games after Lance returned, including the final 5 in a row to clinch the 7th seed in the East.
Stephenson stayed with Pacers through the 2017-2018 season and then once again, he was gone. In the years since, fans on social media and on radio shows have yearned for another reunion between the Pacers and Lance. Due to COVID, the Pacers needed reinforcements, enter Stephenson, Lance.
Roster Update: We have signed guard Lance Stephenson and forward Justin Anderson to 10-day contracts under the NBA’s COVID-related hardship exception.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 2, 2022
Stephenson made his Gainbridge Fieldhouse debut Wednesday vs the Brooklyn Nets. Fan anticipation was higher than perhaps any other regular season game this season, and #6 didn’t disappoint.
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) January 6, 2022
By NBA standards, Stephenson has had a successful career, he has played 10 seasons and made nearly $36 million dollars. He’s played for 8 different NBA teams but there’s something special when he puts on a Pacers uniform and strums his air guitar in front of the home crowd in Indianapolis. The fans love him, and he loves the fans back. In a Pacers season that has had only a handful of good things, Lance’s return is the jolt of happiness both the franchise and the fanbase needed.