After playing back-to-back games in Denver and Minnesota, the Pacers had Monday off. But at least one player was at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on his off day to welcome two very special guests.
Pacers forward Lavoy Allen teamed with Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana to help grant the wishes of Irvin (of Indianapolis) and Juan (of Fort Wayne, IN) on Monday afternoon. Both Irvin and Juan are avid basketball fans and wished to have shopping sprees.
PHOTO GALLERY: Lavoy Allen Helps Grant Holiday Wish »
Irvin, 18, is battling cystic fibrosis and wished for a shopping spree to purchase items for his first year of college. Fighting end stage renal disease, 18-year-old Juan is interested in all things fashion and sports. For his wish, Juan wanted to buy new clothes.
To help make Irvin and Juan’s wishes come true, Allen invited them and their families to The Fieldhouse for a special behind-the-scenes tour.
"It gives me a warm feeling inside, just being able to help other people out, being in the position that I am in," Allen said of the experience. "I'm excited."
Allen wasn't the only one excited for the day. Juan and Irvin were beaming from the moment they met the Pacers forward in the entry pavilion.
Once they arrived and got acquainted, Allen took them out onto the main floor at The Fieldhouse to get an up-close look at an NBA arena. Then, he gave them a quick tour of the team's facilities, including the training room, locker room, and film room.
Finally, Allen brought Irvin and Juan onto the practice court, where he surprised them with Christmas presents he and his family personally picked out and wrapped.
Juan smiled widely as he unwrapped gifts that included a brand new pair of sneakers (which Allen signed for him), Levi's jeans, and a home theater system.
Irvin received a new pair of headphones, Bose speakers, and a new laptop that he can take to college with him.
"I'm so blessed," Irvin told a local news station. "I'm so thankful. I never thought something like this would happen to me."
As Irvin and Juan exited The Fieldhouse, a limousine was waiting for them on Pennsylvania Street to take them to their next destination. Allen, meanwhile, wasn't done giving back.
The Pacers forward then headed to Forest Manor Multi-Service Center, where he helped distribute toys as part of a toy drive for 50 families.