Jermaine O'Neal's one of the greatest Pacers ever, rocking number 7 during his 8 seasons in Indiana ... so when the 6x NBA All-Star found out Buddy Hield was switching numbers and wearing his old digit, O'Neal admitted he was bummed!
"I love Buddy and the work that he puts in. My statement has nothing to do with him," Jermaine wrote, providing a caveat for what would follow.
"It is disappointing to watch teams every year recognize and celebrate the players who have been the franchise's very best players on and off the court but yet Pacers don't. It's been confusing and disappointing to say the least!"
It's all a reaction to Hield, a former first-round draft pick (2016) who joined the Pacers in 2022, deciding to change numbers from 24 to 7.
Hield wore 24 with the Pelicans, Kings, and even Indiana last season. He also rocked 7 at Oklahoma, where he was one of the best players in the country.
During his time with the Pacers (2000-2008), O'Neal was a force on the court. He made 6 All-Star teams as a member of the Pacers, averaging nearly 19 points a game throughout his tenure with the team.
Earlier this year, the Indy Star compiled a list of the greatest players in the team's more than 55-year history, going back to the ABA in the mid-1960s ... and O'Neal was ranked 5th all-time.
Some lists even have O'Neal as high as the second greatest in organizational history, behind Reggie.
Hield, nor the Pacers, have addressed Jermaine O'Neal's comments ... at least not yet.