Judging by the crowd on hand for Sunday’s Pacers FanJam presented by CNO Financial Group, fans are very excited for the start of the 2017-18 Pacers season.
A huge crowd filled Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday for the annual event, where they met the members of the 2017-18 team.
The highlight of the three-hour session came during the middle hour, which began when the team was introduced to the crowd and scrimmaged on the main court. The scrimmage was devoid of much defense, but featured plenty of highlight reel dunks with the Gray team (featuring the Pacers’ second unit) ultimately prevailing, 53-52.
Pacers players then took part in a series of competitions and performances. Joe Young edged Bojan Bogdanovic in the 3-point contest, Domantas Sabonis beat Ike Anigbogu in “Flip the Bottle,” and Alex Poythress, Damien Wilkins, TJ Leaf, and Lance Stephenson won the four-player skills competition.
All of that was a mere prelude for the main event — the annual Rookie Show. Hosted by Pacers center Myles Turner, three first-year Pacers players and one staffer took turns taking the court to perform memorable pop songs in funny costumes (picked out by Turner himself). The event is such a hit that Pacers forward Glenn Robinson III, at home recovering from ankle surgery, video chatted with Stephenson just so he could watch the performances.
Video intern Josh Henderson started the show performing the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way.” Rookie guard Edmond Sumner (dressed as a hot dog) showed off his moves to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off.” Center Ike Anigbogu (dressed as SpongeBob SquarePants) got the crowd on its feet while performing Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” (believe it or not, that song was released on Sept. 30, 1998, a few weeks before Anigbogu was born). Finally, forward TJ Leaf (dressed as a Minion) performed Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA.”
All fans in attendance received a free t-shirt as well as a voucher for a Pepsi product, hot dog, and chips. They also had opportunities to meet Pacers broadcasters and alumni, shoot a free throw on the main court, and watch Boomer, the Power Pack, and the Indiana Pacemates perform.
For the final hour, Pacers players spread out across the arena at various stations to take photos with fans.
Stay tuned for photos and videos from the event.