So far, so good in those Flo-Jo retro uniforms from the 1990s.
The Indiana Pacers played well in their throwbacks, then said after Wednesday’s 114-109 home win over the Detroit Pistons that they liked the iconic attire designed by the late Florence Griffith Joyner.
“They would have fined me for the dress code,” Miles said, laughing. “That jersey didn’t cost as much as that fine does.”
The guys definitely enjoyed them.
“We all liked ’em,” said forward David West.
Then West lowered his voice and said, “I don’t know if I should say this, but, I mean, I like the way the older jerseys look. I think they’re a lot more (head nodding) … they look better.”
The Pacers will wear them for five more home games as part of the NBA’s Hardwood Classics program. The next time will be Feb. 22 vs. the Golden State Warriors.
Fans showed up at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in retro jerseys. They enjoyed embracing the past, from when stars such as Reggie Miller, Antonio and Dale Davis, Rik Smits and Derrick McKey provided a playoff-caliber team that battled the league’s elite.
It was not overlooked that the Pacers (18-32) shot a season-high 59.7 percent in the victory. Those old squads were known for scoring, especially with Miller shooting 3-pointers. The Pacers hit a dozen 3-pointers, one shy of the season high and just the fifth time they hit double digits in that category.
“They were making jokes in the locker room,” head coach Frank Vogel said of the players. “You know, I think I called Roy (Hibbert) Roy Smits, Roy Davis, Solomon McKey, ‘Damo' … it might have been ‘Damo’ McKey or ‘Damo’ (Chris) Mullin.”
The latter reference was to rookie Damjan Rudez. Vogel quickly corrected himself.
“‘Mully’ wasn’t here with those uniforms, was he?” Vogel asked.
Mullin played for the Pacers from 1997 to 2000. The Pacers wore the Flo-Jo uniforms from 1990 to 1997. Mullin posed with a retro jersey when he was introduced with Larry Bird.
“We had some fun with it,” Vogel said.
Miles cracked a joke when asked what he remembered about those old Pacers teams.
“Reggie’s bad haircut,” he said, laughing.
But he was respectful of past greatness.
“As they say, it was the good, old days of basketball,” Miles said. “Super physical, a lot of stars, a tough style of playing basketball. Those teams that were here were really, really good, the teams that Reggie had, the teams he was on, with the ‘Dunkin’ Dutchman’ (Smits) and Mark Jackson.”
“It was fun to be able to play in that stuff,” Miles said. “I feel like that’s the time we grew up in, a lot of guys in this room, so being able to play in those is great.”
The only differing voice, ironically, came from Indianapolis native George Hill.
“I mean, if it was me, I say we’ve got to go real old school short shorts,” the point guard said. “We might as well, if we’re going to take it back, take it all the way back.”
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.