INDIANAPOLIS -- Sam Perkins, a popular player who finished his 17-year NBA career with the Indiana Pacers in 2001, will return as the team's vice president of player relations.
A first-round draft pick by Dallas in 1984, Perkins signed with Indiana as a free agent in 1999 and played three seasons with the Pacers. He was a key reserve on the Indiana team that reached the NBA Finals in 2000 and started 41 games the next year, his final season in the NBA.
"I'm looking forward to this opportunity and challenge because in the perspective of the NBA, player development programs are a high priority," Perkins said Monday. "For the Pacers, the development of players on and off the court has been made a top priority by the franchise."
The Pacers have failed to make the playoffs each of the past two seasons.
The 6-foot-9 Perkins finished with 15,324 points, a career average of 11.9 points per game. Since his retirement in 2001, he has been active in Special Olympics, Boys and Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity and other organizations.
"As a young player in my first couple of years in the league, Sam was a leader on a veteran team and showed myself and the other young guys the correct way to do things," said forward Jeff Foster, one of the two remaining players who played with Perkins for the Pacers. "I always looked up to Sam for how he represented and conducted himself on and off the court."