INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana's all-time leading boys high school basketball scorer, Indiana's first Miss Basketball, champion high school basketball teams from the past and present and the writer and director from the movie Hoosiers highlight the Indiana Pacers' second season of Hickory Night honorees for 2016-17, the team announced today.
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The Pacers will again wear the NBA Pride Hickory uniforms and Bankers Life Fieldhouse will be transformed to reflect the elements that helped make Hoosiers one of the most popular sports movies of all time.
The Hickory Nights, opponents and those to be honored are:
- November 18, Phoenix: Hoosiers screenwriter Angelo Pizzo and director David Anspaugh, along with actors who portrayed Hickory High School players in the movie including Maris Valainis, who was the fictional Jimmy Chitwood. This Hickory Night coincides with the 30th anniversary of the movie's release.
- December 22, Boston: Damon Bailey, who scored the final 11 points of Bedford North-Lawrence's 1990 championship game before more than 40,000 fans in the Hoosier Dome and who is the state's all-time leading scorer in boys high school basketball.
- January 27, Sacramento: Members of the 1965 and 1969 Indianapolis Washington state champion Continentals led by former Pacers Billy Keller, Wayne Pack and George McGinnis and also featuring such schoolboy stars as Ralph Taylor, Eddie Bopp and Steve Downing.
- February 24, Memphis: the Marion Giants of 1985-86-87. Led by Jay Edwards, Lyndon Jones and Kyle Persinger, it was the last school to win three straight titles and the last to go unbeaten in the single-class tournament system.
- March 24, Denver: Warsaw's Judi Warren, who led her team to the first girls state championship in 1976 and was later named Indiana's first IndyStar Miss Basketball.
- April 6, Milwaukee: The eight boys and girls 2017 IHSAA state champion basketball teams. Find Tickets »
"Through our partnership with MGM, we are again delighted use the Hickory Nights as a platform to celebrate and honor some of those who have made Indiana synonymous with the game of basketball," said Todd Taylor, senior vice president and chief sales and marketing officer of Pacers Sports & Entertainment. "The Hickory nights last season really resonated with our fans. In conjunction with our 50th Season Decade Nights, this promises to be a very special season."
Last year's Hickory Nights saluted Crawfordsville as the birthplace of Indiana basketball, Loogootee's Jack Butcher as Indiana's all-time winningest high school coach, George Crowe of Franklin as Indiana's first Mister Basketball, the 1955, '56 and '59 Crispus Attucks state champions, the 1954 Milan state champions who served as the inspiration for Hoosiers, and the eight 2016 boys and girls IHSAA state basketball championship teams.