December 10, 2007

The Man Upstairs

Jamaal Tinsley knows he has to make lifestyle changes, and he feels blessed to have the chance. That was the Indiana Pacers guard's mind-set 36 hours after being shot at with an assault weapon in front of a downtown Indianapolis hotel. He was not injured.

"The man upstairs, he gave me another opportunity to see another day. When athletes step out, anything can happen," the sixth-year player said after Monday's practice.

Tinsley met with coach Jim O'Brien and team president Larry Bird a day after the guard and several companions were targeted in an early Sunday morning shooting that wounded the team's equipment manager. The suspected shooters have not been arrested as police continue to investigate.

According to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Sgt. Paul Thompson, at least three people in Tinsley's group had guns, all of which were legal. Though police didn't say Tinsley was carrying a gun, he does have a permit.

The team didn't punish Tinsley in the latest instance of Pacers players finding trouble - or trouble finding them.

First-year coach O'Brien said Tinsley did nothing wrong.
I assume "The Man Upstairs" Tinsley is talking about is God and not Larry Bird. As for doing nothing wrong -- when did cruising the city with your personal gun-wielding posse until three or four in the morning become "nothing wrong." This is the third violent late-night incident in the last year for Tinsley, and if O'Brien and Bird think getting shot at will change him, I'd bet money they're wrong. (More money than I'd bet on the Pacers winning, that's for sure.)

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