While the enthusiasm is not unusual, we at the magazine are particularly eager for the start of this NBA season thanks to the guy on our cover, who was traded here for All-Star Paul George last summer. Had you told anyone at the beginning of the 2017–2018 campaign that former IU star Victor Oladipo would imbue the Pacers with optimism, they would have sought to have you declared non compos mentis. But, as writer Jeff Vrabel points out in his profile of Oladipo, even crazy things happen for a reason. In this case, it’s a matter of belief.
The last time Indiana was led by a player who brimmed with such confidence, it was no less than Mr. Eight Points in Nine Seconds, Reggie Miller. Perhaps not coincidentally, Reggie was the last Pacer featured on our cover, the occasion being an April 2005 celebration of his career. It’s one of my favorite IM covers, a fitting salute to his cool self-assurance. I see echoes in the choices made by design director Todd Urban (responsible for a fantastic string of gorgeous covers) and associate art director Jake Ziolkowski (the talent behind the feature package design). And, of course, the look in Oladipo’s eyes. Let’s ball.