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Hibbert: Finalist for NBA’s Teammate of the Year, Thanks Fans in Ad

Hibbert: Finalist for NBA’s Teammate of the Year, Thanks Fans in Ad

When I think of Pacers center Roy Hibbert, the first word that comes to mind is thoughtful. He’s thoughtful for others — teammates, staff, and local citizens he barely even knows.

In the locker room, he wants to be informed with what’s going on in everyone’s life and how they are feeling. When the media crowded around his corner locker to interview him after games, he would always pause the interview to ensure that the gathered media made room for D.J. Augustin, who occupied the locker to his left.

That’s why when the NBA announced a new annual award, the Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, it seemed to have Hibbet’s name written all over it.

Los Angeles Clippers guard (and now free agent) Chauncey Billups was this year’s recipient, which was handed out Sunday at Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Miami. As part of winning the inaugural award, which recognizes the NBA player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and his commitment and dedication to his team, the NBA will make a $25,000 donation to a charity of Billups’ choosing.

What doesn’t make sense is how the finalists were selected and votes were then tallied. First, a panel of NBA Legends nominated the 12 players, six from each conference. Then, players around the league voted with the one caveat being that the players couldn’t vote for their own teammates.

Yes, seriously. That doesn’t make any sense.

Ultimately, Billups, a journeyman who’s donned seven different NBA teams’ jerseys, won the award. Hibbert received six first place votes and finished 10th, just as he did in Defensive Player of the Year voting.

The new award is a great idea because it hits on a player’s commitment to team, which is sometimes lost.  The voting, however, is a bit flawed.

The other finalists were: Jerry Stackhouse (Brooklyn Nets), Luke Walton (Cleveland Cavaliers), Andre Iguodala (Denver Nuggets), Jarrett Jack (Golden State Warriors), Shane Battier (Miami Heat), Roger Mason, Jr. (New Orleans Hornets), Jason Kidd (New York Knicks), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder), Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs), and Emeka Okafor (Washington Wizards).

Hibbert Just Gets It

Roy Hibbert takes out a full page ad in Sunday's Indy Star to thank fans.

He understands that without fans, there’s no NBA and without the NBA, he’s not making millions to play basketball for a living.

Sunday, he took out the full page ad in the Indianapolis Star (as seen to the right), to thank fans for their unwavering support this past season. In the photo, Hibbert is seated in front of members of his Area 55 section, who were allowed into the Fieldhouse early one game to watch warmups. That’s just one of the many perks to being in Hibbert’s section where he gives away 55 season tickets to some of the most loyal, outgoing and diehard Pacers fans.

It’s not unusual for a professional athlete to show their appreciation for fans in the local newspaper. When individuals compete in a city for an extended period of time, they will often take out ads when they are done to thank the city and its fans for their support.

Hibbert, who just completed his fifth season (and first under his new maximum contract), added another item to the list of why he is a fan favorite. In addition to his talents on the court, Hibbert is caring, accessible, friendly guy who’s enjoys having a good time with others.

Small gestures like this can go a long ways with fans.

Well done, No. 55.

About The Author

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Scott Agness is in his second season as a multimedia contributor for Pacers.com. He delivers articles, blog posts, interviews, and videos. He is a graduate of Indiana University where he was part of broadcasts on the IU Radio Network, Big Ten Network, IUHoosiers.com and WIUX. He is the founder and editor of VigilantSports.com.

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