2013 Pacers FanJam presented by CNO Financial Group
Pacers Fans and Players Celebrate Upcoming Season
Scott Agness | October 20, 2013
Eager with anticipation, Pacers fans spent part of their afternoon at Bankers Life Fieldhouse for the annual Pacers FanJam. More than 8,000 Blue and Gold fans were in attendance – that’s about 3,000 more than last year.
“I think there’s a great buzz surrounding our basketball team this year,” he said. “Each year, we usually get a pretty good turnout but this was a little greater than usual.”
There were plenty of activities for those on hand, like face painting, meet-and-greet with Pacemates, team broadcasters, and former players. Fans also had the unique opportunity to shoot a free throw on the main floor; if they hit, they won a pair of tickets to an upcoming game. The first 4,000 fans received a free Pacers flag, along with a free hot dog, bag of chips and Pepsi product.
At 3 p.m., the on-court activities got underway. Due to the team’s poor preseason schedule – with six of their final seven games on the road, including two in Asia – they did not hold a scrimmage, per usual.
3-point shoot-out: George Hill won the first challenge with no problem at all. He beat C.J. Watson in the first round and then Chris Copeland in the finals. Roy Hibbert competed against Copeland in the first round but was beat 14-5.
Tricycle Race: Frank Vogel hopped on a tricycle for the first time since he was a tike. Racers had to ride all the way down the floor, around a cone, and back. Rasual Butler zoomed past coach but his partner, Orlando Johnson needed Ian Mahinmi’s assistance to point and move him in the right direction. Behind a strong effort from Donald Sloan, Vogel’s team won.
Junk in the Trunk: Danny Granger, Lance Stephenson, Solomon Hill and Paul George had a Kleenex box full of Ping-Pong balls tied around their waste. With music playing in the background, the guys had to shake it to see who could empty their Kleenex box first.
Shoe Fly Shoe: Four pairs tried to see which group could flick a shoe off each of their feet and onto a circular table – from the foul line to midcourt – first. The pairs were 1) Donald Sloan and Paul George, 2) C.J. Watson and Lance Stephenson, 3) Luis Scola and Roy Hibbert, 4) Ian Mahinmi and Hilton Armstrong. Luis Scola was the first guy to make it. This event dragged on, but eventually Hilton Armstrong got his shoe to stick so he and Ian Mahinmi won.
Football Toss: With the city on the National stage tonight for the Colts and Broncos game, a football toss was in order. Teams of two – 1) David West and Stephenson, 2) Copeland and Watson, and 3) Orlando Johnson and George Hill – rifled a football from one foul line to the other and into a trash can. The tandem of Hill and Johnson connected first.
Knockout: The team had rookie Solomon Hill start it off, of course. For the first few minutes, guys threw up shots left-handed from the top of the key. Midway through, the guys shot like they usually would. It came down to the two point guards, Hill and Watson, with Hill once again finishing on top.
Sumo Race: Stephenson most enjoyed this one. He and Watson put on sumo outfits and had to dribble all the way down the floor and around a cone, dribble it back and make a layup. Watson tipped over at mid-court, which easily allowed Stephenson to take the bragging rights.
Half-court shooting: The entire team gathered at center court. Stephenson was the first to make the shot – he banked it in – and Hibbert followed with one of his own. A couple shots later, Watson banked one in. With team mascot, Boomer, joining those three for the finals, the Big Dawg, Roy Hibbert, made another one first.
Rookie duties: This is always a favorite. With Solomon Hill the only first-year player on the roster, new assistant video coordinator Mike DiBenedetto also took part in this dance off. With his child in one hand, Granger held the microphone in the other and instructed those two to take off their shirts and dance to Miley Cyrus’ ‘We Can’t Stop.’ Like the good sports that they are, they listened and later, Hill freestyled after a young fan requested the song, ‘What Does the Fox Say.’
“It was great,” Vogel said. “[Hill] came up with some masterful lyrics and I was very impressed with the whole deal.”
The Pacers then signed as many autographs as they could in an hour’s time. It was without a doubt the best crowd for this event that anyone could remember in the last decade.
What’s ahead: Returning from Cleveland early in the morning, the team had the day off. They’ll practice on Monday and then fly to Atlanta. Opening night is at the Fieldhouse on Oct. 29 against the Orlando Magic.