There will be a 5-foot-9, 140-pounder on the basketball squad when the Indiana Pacers assemble rookie camp Monday, a candidate "serious" about making the NBA regular-season roster and carrying special wishes of luck from the sport's commissioner, Larry O'Brien.
Ann Meyers, 24, a four-year star on UCLA's first while women's national champions, where she was the first woman on full athletic scholarship, yesterday became the first female signed to an NBA contract.
Welcome to Pacer basketball, new owner Sam Nassi style. Californian Nassi did the deed at a Los Angeles press conference with Californian Myers, both declaring that this is not a gimmick -- but if she fails to win a berth on the 11-player roster on merit, her one-year pact provides that she serve the Indiana team in some other fashion.
O'brien wired from New York: "The NBA does not discriminate . . . on any basis, including sex . . . I wish Ms. Meyers luck in her attempt . . . I am sure she recognizes, as we all do, that competition for positions on the NBA is so intense that year after year highly skilled athletes are unable to meet the increasingly demanding standards for playing in this league."
Meyers' brother Dave, 6-8 forward for the Bucks, ventured from Milwaukee, "I think she may be in way over her head, but, on the other hand, I do think she could make it." Hmmm?