The Lance Stephenson Show Is Back (For Now)

We all know how it feels when you watch episodes of your favorite TV shows time after time. No matter how many times you watch it, you still laugh or cry just as you would if you saw it for the first time.

This is a common occurrence with me. I can watch Martin over and over and I often laugh until tears fall down my face. It even comes to a point where I get on YouTube to sing Varnell Hill songs around the house. It's why last night’s game between the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors felt like a rerun of a popular television show.

In a sense, it was because it featured one-time Pacers star Lance Stephenson. Seeing Stephenson alongside Paul George brought back memories of the past.

Whether you like it or not, Stephenson is a national treasure. Certainly, he can be immature, reckless and all of the above, but when he is in “bag” he’s a joy to watch. Stephenson has been tremendously talented since he went toe-to-toe with former high school phenom O.J. Mayo at the ABCD Camp.

Dubbed "Born Ready" prior to that epic matchup, "The 8th Grader” showed out and the rest was history. The legend of Stephenson transitioned into high school where he attended Brooklyn's Abraham Lincoln High School. Playing at the school that produced Stephon Marbury and Sebastian Telfair, he led the Railsplitters to four consecutive Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) Class AA championships. After graduating from Lincoln, Stephenson shockingly took his talents to the University of Cincinnati.

I’ll admit that prior to attending my alma mater, Stephenson was one of my favorite players. If you know me, then it’s easy to understand why I am the head of the #BornReadyHive. I prefer my favorite players to be polarizing. Being politically correct and unexciting is cool and all, but it isn’t for me.

Stephenson is the total opposite on and off the court. He dates R&B singers and video vixens and even tried to rap. As Jadakiss once said, he’s not cocky, he’s confident. So when you tell him he’s the best, it's a compliment. Okay, he’s far from being the best, but you get the point. That said, Lance’s confidence rubs people the wrong way, which is perfectly fine. Some can’t stand it, but of course, I’m here for it.

On the court, he’s innately talented just as much as he can be an imbecile. On any night he can get you a C's-get-degrees triple-double (word to DragonflyJonez), or he can piss off a whole team because of his antics. Remember when Juwan Howard wanted to kick his ass? Of course, we can’t forget when he blew into LeBron’s ear.

Those ingenious instances come with the “Born Ready” experience. Since leaving Indiana via free agency in 2014, Stephenson played on five different teams. For Lance, things have come full circle and he’s back with the Pacers on a three-year deal, although it’s essentially a one-year contract.

Against the Raptors, the revival of Born Ready experience was fully unveiled. Although his return to Bankers Life Fieldhouse wasn’t Michael Jordan-like as he professed, he fueled the Pacers to victory.

The Pacers fought back from a 19-point deficit in large part thanks to Stephenson. His energy and Rucker Park-like moves ignited a level of energy that pulsated through the arena. He toyed with defenders and hit a clutch three that sealed the game. For the first time in what feels like forever, Born Ready was back, and in rare form.

At the end of the game, with the shot clock off and Indiana winning convincingly, he took an open layup instead of running out the clock. Toronto was pissed and a mini fracas ensued. In true Lance fashion, he was insensible to what occurred as DeMar DeRozan and P.J. Tucker marched his way.

DeMar DeRozan and P.J. Tucker wanted Lance's fade, but he didn't care.

For the first time in three seasons, the Pacers felt like a legitimate threat because of the swagger of Stephenson. Although George is far and away the best player on Indiana, he needs a player like Stephenson to be his hype man. Like Busta Rhymes with Spliff Starr and Chuck D with Flavor Flav, having a hype man is essential. Oftentimes good players need a hype man to help them become great, and that's what Lance is to PG-13.

As it stands, Indiana holds the East's eighth seed in the playoffs. If the Pacers sneak into the seventh or sixth spot and avoid the Cavaliers, perhaps they can defeat Boston or Toronto—or at least make things interesting.

Although it may be short-lived, the Lance Stephenson Show is back in Indiana. If Tuesday night was an indicator of how things will be going forward, I wouldn’t miss the next episode, because you might miss something special or ludicrous.

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