Perkins has been helping as many people as he can since retiring from the NBA after the 2000-01 season. He's been involved in several charitable organizations including Nothing But Nets (a United Nations program devoted to providing mosquito nets to malaria-prone regions of Africa), the Boys and Girls Club, Big Brothers, NBA Cares, Basketball Without Borders and Habitat for Humanity. Last year, Perkins and Crossman traveled to China with an Albany volleyball team for the Special Olympics.
"All of these things that I've done ... they've helped me reach this point," said Perkins.
It's that sense of giving back to the community and being an upstanding citizen that Perkins wants to impart to the Pacers' players " something the organization has been lacking in recent years. Three Indiana players " Jamaal Tinsley, Shawne Williams and Marquis Daniels " have been involved in off-the-court incidents in the last two years, and another player, David Harrison, was suspended by the NBA for a drug policy violation. Then, there was the infamous brawl between the Pacers and Detroit Pistons several years ago in Detroit that involved players and fans.
"Trouble is going to look for you all the time, and you have to learn how to deal with it," said Perkins.
"When you've got a franchise that is perceived as having lost its way, I think he's the right man for the job of helping the franchise find its way," said Crossman.
Perkins knows how trouble can find a person. During his 17-year NBA career with the Pacers, the Seattle Supersonics, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Dallas Mavericks, he said there were times that he made poor choices. Fortunately for Perkins, those choices didn't lead to run-ins with the law.
"Did I stay out late? Yes. Did I drink? Yes," said Perkins. "But I never took advantage of anybody or let anybody take advantage of me, and that's how you gain respect."
Now, it's up to Perkins to help the current players on Indiana's roster avoid those same traps and become role models for future NBA players.
"The whole concept is not only to provide guidance to the players, but also to be a role model to those players," said Crossman. "Since he's been around a couple of successful organizations, he knows what it takes to succeed in the NBA.""