Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul Goerge made his first return to Indiana on Wednesday night after going through a messy divorce with the Pacers this summer. George spent 7 seasons in Indiana before telling the Pacers of his intentions to leave the franchise after the 2017-18 season. By telling the Pacers that he wasn’t going to stay with the organization long-term, Indiana really had no choice but to trade him, and Pacers fans are understandably bitter in the way sports fans get bitter whenever a franchise player forces their way out.
Despite the fact that trading George to the Thunder gave the Pacers one of the early-season breakout stars in Victor Oladipo, the Indiana faithful greeted George with a healthy dose of boos on Wednesday, and the hostility towards Thunder stars didn’t stop there. But first, a history lesson.
As the old story goes, when Kevin Garnett was a member of the Boston Celtics, he got in a pretty aggressive shouting match with Carmelo Anthony. This isn’t new territory for Garnett. The list of NBA players he hasn’t talked trash to is much shorter than the list of players he has, but what set this fight apart from the rest was the fact that whatever Garnett said to Anthony was so offensive that Anthony actually waited for Garnett after the game by the Celtics team bus.
Nothing really happened after that, but it was reported by multiple outlets at the time that Garnett told Anthony that his wife La La ‘tasted like Honey Nut Cheerios’, and Melo lost it. Despite how incredible that story is, La La revealed a year later that Garnett didn’t actually say that, and that he and Melo are friends now, so, we’ll probably never know exactly what Garnett said that day.
Unfortunately for Carmelo and La La, it didn’t matter how true or untrue that story is. The Honey Nut Cheerios narrative stuck, and as Indiana Pacers fans showed us on Wednesday, people are still yelling that at him in 2017.
At least Melo is being a good sport about it by smiling to the crowd after making his first free throw. These Pacers fans are brutal, though. Two weeks ago, Joakim Noah had only been back for a minute before they mocked his free throw form right in his grill. Ruthless, Indiana. Ruthless.