The Pacers pulled out all the stops for their rookies

Since Reggie Miller, even Jermaine O’Neal, since the beginning of the 2010s, the Pacers have struggled to retain their best players over an entire decade. The All-Stars stay a few seasons, but never much longer.

The last three starred players in Indiana? Domantas Sabonis in 2020 and 2021, Victor Oladipo in 2018 and 2019 and Paul George of course, in 2016 and 2017. None are yet in Indiana…

So the franchise decided to put on a big spread to welcome the three players drafted last Thursday: Bennedict Mathurin (in 6th position), Andrew Nembhard (31st) and Kendall Brown (48th), by organizing an unforgettable day for this trio .

As soon as they arrived in Indiana, the day after the Draft in Brooklyn, around a hundred franchise employees were waiting for them at the side of the road leading to the training center. The players were seated in a Verizon 200 Camaro, convertible and red, to take photos and videos of this moment.

Helping gamers put down roots in Indiana

Then there was the traditional press conference. With special attention: renowned street signs for the three rookies. You could read La Voie Mathurin, Avenue Nembhard, Boulevard Brown…

Always with the idea that these little signs, in the long term, will deeply affect the players, who will thus integrate more easily into this State famous for its 500 Miles.

“I strongly believe that getting a player drafted, allowing them to settle here, understanding the franchise, the city, the people, how the fans are involved… doing all of that early on helps the players. to take root”explains the president of the Pacers Kevin Pritchard to The Athletic. “We are in a basketball state. We don’t have mountains or beaches, but if you want to become a great player, an All-Star, there is no better place. »

After the press conference, the players were able to change into Pacers polo shirts. Next stop of the day: the St. Elmo Steak House. There, two racing cars awaited the young talents. They were taken to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a city track, for a short high-speed session with driver Callum Ilott.

A few laps in a Chevy Corvette Indy 500, at more than 250 km / h, woke up the players (exhausted, Mathurin had confessed to having fallen asleep the day before with his Draft cap) and concluded a long and memorable day. The premiere of their new adventure in Indianapolis.

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