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Hibbert seeking the best for Area 55

by Scott Agness

August 16, 2012

Not even Roy Hibbert could have imagined what Area 55, his exclusive section at home games, would develop into. The loud, animated and passionate members dress the part and lead cheers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Because the first two seasons were such a hit, Hibbert has even bigger things in store for season three in which he'll buy all 55 seats and give them away to the most deserving Pacers fans.

Fans in the section, located in the corner behind the Pacers bench, are decked out in team gear and can be heard supporting the Pacers, mocking the opponents and most of all, just having a good time. The group is proud, rambunctious, and hoping to disrupt the opposing team. When Hibbert sinks a free throw, the section chants in unison, “Hib-hib-horROY, Hib-hib-horRoy!”

Can you believe Mark Boyle and Slick Leonard announced a game on the Pacers Radio Network there last season?

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“They bring noise, have posters and big heads,” Hibbert said of Area 55. “I like their cheers when the opposing team shoots free throws. I laugh while I’m on the bench when they make up the cheers.”

While some Pacers players, like Hibbert, may laugh about an Area 55 chant, the visitors sometimes become frustrated. There’s been many times in previous seasons when something they have yelled caught the attention of those on the visiting bench. The players look up, see where all the noise is coming from and discuss amongst each other.

With a new Pacers season around the corner, fans wanting to join Area 55 will need a unique presentation to impress Big Roy. During the previous two auditions, successful candidates had a slick costume, creative cheer or something that strikes a chord with No. 55.

"I want to see how crazy people are, what type of costumes they’re going to wear to every game and if they are true, loyal Pacers fans.”

There’s also more to Area 55 than just a Krieg DeVault Club Level ticket to every home game. You never know when another adventure with the leader will pop up. Just this summer, Hibbert took members of Area 55 laser-tagging and a handful of them also sweat through a MMA workout with him. He evens follows some members on twitter. Hibbert likes the fact that it’s more than just a section.

“It’s like a family atmosphere. Whatever I can do to help their basketball experience in Indiana, I’ll help as much I can. Those people are like a family themselves. Some have tattoos, some stay at other people’s houses to watch games.”

Those diehard Pacers fans interested in joining the rowdy bunch must submit their 30-second pitch online at Pacers.com/area55 and Hibbert will invite his favorites to Bankers Life Fieldhouse on August 29th for final auditions.

“You better bring it, because it’s going to be bigger this year than ever.”