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Sam Perkins comes full circle.

Sam Perkins has come full circle.

The Indiana Pacers hired the Shaker High School graduate to be the NBA team's vice president of player relations last month a job that gives the former pro basketball player a chance to mentor a new generation of players.

I always wanted to get into the NBA (management) in some capacity and this was one (possibility)," said Perkins. "Player relations and player development has always been important to me."

The fact that the job offer came from Pacers team president Larry Bird " who once coached him in Indiana " was an honor in itself for Perkins.

"It's a humbling experience to be called upon by a legend," said Perkins. "He's one of two people who I admired (before entering the NBA in 1984) and then got to know."

Among Perkins' responsibilities will be to teach players how to manage their money, how to relate and give back to the Indianapolis community, how to deal with media scrutiny and how to make the right choices in their personal lives.

"The biggest issue is to have some structure in their lives," said Perkins. "They don't realize that once they sign that contract, their lives change drastically. They really have to concentrate on being themselves and getting used to saying no to people."

The guidance Perkins offers is similar to the guidance he received growing up, especially from his legal guardian, Herb Crossman.

"If anything, the reason I'm talking to you from where I am today is because of him," Perkins said of Crossman. "He taught me all of these things that I now pass along to my daughters and the things that I will be passing along to the Pacers."

"It's tremendously gratifying to know he's going to be passing along a lot of the things I taught him, and it's tremendously gratifying to know he's going to help a lot of other people," said Crossman, who lives in Slingerlands.

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