INDIANAPOLIS — The date: May 4, 2000.
The situation: the top-seeded Pacers on the verge of elimination against the eighth-seeded Bucks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs. Into the spotlight, stepped guard Travis Best.
“I remember like it was yesterday,” said Best. “I always think about it. I’m always reminded about that shot.”
Down by two with less than 20 seconds to play, Best knocked down a clutch three-pointer to put Indiana up for good.
“Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Jalen [Rose] wide open, so I didn’t hesitate to just whip it out to him and he had the presence of mind to put it on the floor and make something happen with it,” Best told CBS4 in a Zoom interview from Springfield, Mass. “He threw it to the open person in me, a guy who at that point was 2-for-14. He had the confidence that I would stick one and I finally did.”
Instead of going down in history as one of the few one seeds to fall in the opening round, the Pacers advanced to what is still the franchise’s only NBA Finals appearance as Eastern Conference champs.
“I knew how big of a shot it was,” Best recalled. “I definitely felt the gravity.”
Best knocked down the shot when it mattered. Before that, he was 0-for-4 from beyond the arc.
“We all had confidence in one another no matter if somebody was having a bad night,” Best said. “We still felt like they could make the shot when it counts most. All the shooting after practices, the extra work that we would all put in, I had the confidence to take that shot and know that it would have a chance to go in.”
It was perhaps the “best” shot of his career and one of the most significant in Pacers’ history.