Edna and Darwin May are not related to George Hill, the newest Indiana Pacer. The Indianapolis natives are not part of his inner circle, haven't been to the family home, really don't know Hill beyond the fact that he's an Indianapolis Public Schools graduate, a former IUPUI star, a prodigal son coming home. So on an otherwise ordinary mid-summer day, the two retirees -- Edna once was a teacher and principal at the now-closed IPS School 98 -- chose to come downtown to be part of a crowd of roughly 125 people who watched Hill's introductory press conference Monday at Conseco Fieldhouse. Just because. "He represents IPS, he represents IUPUI, and we just wanted to be here to welcome him," Edna May said as Hill posed with his No. 3 Pacers jersey. "He's one of us." He's one of us. In a more cynical world, it could be said that Hill's public introduction was a bit over-the-top for a 30-minute-per-game player. It's not like Dwight Howard or Eric Gordon just walked through the door. And yet . . . why not? Why not celebrate what's right now about the Indiana Pacers? Hill represents what the Pacers are becoming, a civically responsible organization that will no longer embarrass the city on the floor or off. Hill is not a star, not even close, and yet, he's the embodiment of a franchise that has finally shed the yoke of "The Brawl" and all the other nonsense that had Pacers beat writers on 24-hour police-beat alert. "I grew up a Pacers fan," said Hill, who grew up on the city's Northside and graduated from Broad Ripple High School. "I was heartbroken when things went bad for them. I hated seeing what happened here. But give the organization credit: They moved out a lot of those guys and they've rebuilt. And I'm glad to be a part of that." Hill is a building block. Not a game-changer, but a building block. He's a building block on the floor, where he can play both guard positions and has the length to defend the other team's best backcourt player. The next time the Pacers face the Chicago Bulls in the playoffs, Hill will get to defend Derrick Rose, instead of having Paul George exhaust himself in the process. He's a building block off the floor. He's only 25 years old -- when a reporter asked him about having a veteran's presence, he smiled and said, "You're making me feel old; I'm only 25" -- but he's an old soul, a grown-up in a very young league. He isn't going to walk into a sometimes-aimless locker room and be a leader, but he's going to show teammates the difference between what he called "being a pro and being a professional."
Hill's return is what's right with Pacers
Indianapolis Star | Jun 28