Skip to main content
#pounditSaturday, July 13, 2024

Ex-Pacers All-Star calls out team after Buddy Hield gets his old jersey number

Jermaine O'Neal in a polo shirt

Apr 12, 2018; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Jermaine O’Neal during the BIG3 League draft at the Fox Sports Studio. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Indiana Pacers have angered one of their prominent alums.

The Pacers announced on Thursday that guard Buddy Hield will be switching jersey numbers next season from No. 24 to No. 7.

After being tagged in an Instagram comment, retired former Pacers star Jermaine O’Neal issued a strong response to the news (O’Neal previously wore No. 7 for Indiana).

“I love Buddy and the work that he puts in,” said O’Neal. “My statement has nothing to do with him. [But] it is disappointing to watch teams every year recognize and celebrate the players who have been the franchise’s very best players on and off the court but yet the Pacers don’t. It’s been confusing and disappointing to say the least.”

Here is a screenshot of O’Neal’s comment.

O’Neal, now 44, played for the Pacers from 2000-08. While in Indiana, he made six All-Star teams, earned three All-NBA nods, and won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award in 2002. Though many may remember O’Neal for his role in the notorious “Malice at the Palace” brawl, he was still one of the most important Pacers of the 21st century and deserves his recognition from the franchise.

Ever since O’Neal left, Al Jefferson (2017), Malcolm Brogdon (2020-22), and George Hill (2023) have also already worn the No. 7 jersey for Indiana. Meanwhile, the Pacers as a whole have only retired the jersey numbers of four total players (with Reggie Miller being the most recent honoree way back in 2006). O’Neal, who generally handled himself well in Indiana too, clearly thinks that the Pacers need a lot of improvement in their alumni relations department.

Load more
Exit mobile version