Jermaine O'Neal is easily one of the best Pacers in their NBA franchise history. He went to more All-Star Games than Reggie Miller, finished 3rd in the MVP voting during a franchise-record 61-win season in 2003-04, is the team's all-time leading shot blocker and ranks in the top ten in most major categories.
So, why does it seem like Indy doesn't love J.O.?
The Brawl stained his tenure, and while he still played at a high level after that, he never again reached that 2003-04 peak. The team fell apart late in O'Neal's tenure and his $20 million contract ended up being a strain on the Pacers' cap flexibility, leading to him getting jettisoned to Toronto unceremoniously in 2008.
However, with those days now long gone, many Pacers fans are finally started to reflect favorably on J.O.'s tenure. The Pacers great joined us on the show today to talk about his return to pro basketball with the BIG3, those mixed feelings from fans towards him, and defending a legacy that really shouldn't need to be defended. Take a listen:
Jermaine O'Neal interview rundown
2:53: Relationship with Dr. J, his coach in The BIG3
4:05: Views on NBA's age minimum
7:13: Being embraced by Pacers fans
9:58: The Brawl being attached to his legacy
13:57: If his #7 jersey should be retired
16:08: 2004-05 team