Rick Carlisle behind a piano, on stage with artists and dedicating a song to a former colleague
The Pacers head coach played a piano keyboard from his hotel room on their last road trip in tribute to David Benner. "Music is a great thing. I recommend it to anybody," he said.
Almost one year ago, there was a surprise guest on stage with Darius Rucker during one of his shows at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre in Indianapolis.
Dressed in a black hat, a black long-sleeve mock shirt and with a credential around his neck was none other than Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle.
He joined Rucker and the band on stage to play one song, something he’s done with Rucker at about a half-dozen live shows over the years. He's also performed with Bruce Hornsby many times.
“I’ve gotten to know a lot of great musicians over the years, some of the best in the world, and that’s always been an inspirational thing,” he said.
The Pacers head coach, also a licensed pilot who once owned a plane, started playing when he was 10 years old. It’s a thrill for him, a mix of being a challenge and a release away from basketball.
“Took two lessons and basically bailed on it because learning that way didn’t work for me,” he said. “And then I picked it up again in college when I transferred schools (from the University of Maine to the University of Virginia), took a year and just grinded and figured it out myself — which I wouldn’t recommend as a way to learn. So it’s been since the early ‘80s.”