Pacers fans young and old arrived at the River West StreetFest thinking it would simply be a great way to show team pride and start another summer weekend in downtown Indianapolis. As it turned out, they witnessed the start of a new era for the franchise.
Once fans had filed in and had their fill of the various food trucks and activities, the Indiana Pacemates got the show started. The group, fresh off auditions, gave its first performance as a 2017-18 squad.
From there, kids from the crowd were invited to play in games of 3-on-3. For a final game, six kids were chosen, and it was about to tip-off until Lance Stephenson made a surprise appearance.
Stephenson made it clear that he had “next” and that he had his own team with him. T.J. Leaf, Ike Anigbogu, Glenn Robinson III and Myles Turner joined Stephenson at center court, but before the games got underway, there was another surprise for the crowd.
The organization introduced its brand refresh. A hype video showed all of the refresh’s elements. Spearheaded by the motto “We Grow Basketball Here,” it includes new blue and white uniforms, a new court and two new logos.
After the video finished, the players revealed their new jerseys, which they had been hiding underneath their warmups.
The players challenged the youngsters to a friendly contest, and after, started a huge game of Knockout, all while showing off their new threads. When the action was said and done, the players gave the jerseys their approval.
“It’s lighter. It’s like a fun, new, whole custom look to us,” Robinson III said when asked his opinion. “I think everybody’s excited about the Nike.”
“The jersey feels good, very light, very comfortable,” Turner added.
Stephenson is so excited he’s thinking about adding some to his personal wardrobe.
“They fit great, they feel great,” Stephenson said. I think fans are really going to like them. I like them so much I’m going to buy my own jersey.”
Fans agreed with the players’ sentiment.
“I love the new jerseys,” said Landon Gibson, a young Pacers fan. “I think we needed a change of the jerseys.”
The new court was also a hot topic.
“I like the court,” another fan named Jack said. “The court’s awesome.”
The start of the season is still months away but at tonight’s event you could feel one chapter of the franchise’s history ending and another beginning.
“It’s just a new era, a new team, a younger, cool stylish feel to it, so I think it [the brand refresh] definitely represents us as a team, and I think we’re all excited about it,” Robinson III said.
“The one thing we’re trying to push is that it’s a new era,” Turner said. “It’s the 51st year of Pacers basketball, and I think we’re gonna end up being something special. “We got a young core. Guys are ready to work, and I’m looking forward to the future.”
This night showed that players and fans alike are ready to embrace a new attitude and new look as a new era of Indiana Pacers basketball begins to grow.