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Good Time to Come On Board

Good Time to Come On Board

Typical or atypical? Ordinary or extraordinary?

As the new kid on this block, I will learn in time.

But I’m leaning toward typical and ordinary which, in a word, is amazing.

For certain, I am amazed at what I have witnessed and learned from the time it was announced I was joining Pacers Sports & Entertainment through my first few days on the job.

There was Paul George donating a car to the Hawthorne Community Center as part of his 2013 NBA Most Improved Player Award.

There was a $50,000 Pacers Foundation donation to the World Food Programme to aid recovery from the devastating typhoon in the Philippines.

There were visits by Pacers players to veterans at the Roudebush V.A. Medical Center, which followed the Veterans Day salute to World War II vets who were entertained during a game and then honored in an emotional halftime ceremony.

There was the welcoming and feeding of 650 people for the “Come To Our House” Thanksgiving dinner, hosted by David and Lesley West and presented by US Foods.

There was Pacers guard George Hill being recognized with the NBA’s Community Assist Award on a Friday, then, on a Monday, partnering with the United Way and long-time Pacers season ticket-holder Al Hubbard to award a $25,000 check to an IPS teacher. Even better, Hill was re-united with the Broad Ripple High School teacher who had a profound impact on his life and given the Rockets letter jacket he couldn’t afford to buy when he was a prep athlete. The Indianapolis Star gave the heartwarming story Page 1 play.

There was the IPS robotics competition taking place over the weekend, and the proper diligence and care exercised by facilities staff when strong storms blew through the downtown area.

I watched in jaw-dropping amazement at what the PS&E family has come to know as routine – the move-in and move-out of two concerts. How that occurs so seamlessly in such a short time is pure wonderment.

And, oh yes, the team. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith stopped by, wanting to do a profile on emerging superstar Paul George. Instead, George insisted it be not just about him, so he was joined by coach Frank Vogel and the other four starters for what became a two-part profile on ESPN.

The Pacers also, as of this writing, ran their record to 10-1, capped by a pulsating overtime win at New York in which George dropped a Reggie Miller-like 28 of his 35 points in the second half and overtime.

And, by the way, both local and national (ESPN) TV ratings for that game blew through the roof while traffic on Pacers.com is so heavy it looks like I-70, I-69 and I-65 in the mornings.

The Pacers even got a two-page spread in the newspaper. A PARIS FRANCE newspaper.

Great team. Good guys. Attendance and ratings and buzz all up, up, up. Community outreach and world notice. The hits just keep on coming. Typical or atypical? Ordinary or extraordinary? Not sure.

But good times all the way around nonetheless. Glad to be on board.

About The Author

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Bill Benner is Senior Vice President of Corporate, Community and Public Relations with Pacers Sports & Entertainment. Prior to coming to the Pacers, Benner served as the Horizon League’s Senior Associate Commissioner for Operations and Communications from 2010-13. He enjoyed a successful 33-year career as a sportswriter and columnist for the Indianapolis Star, and served as the Pacers’ beat writer from 1974-79. Benner then became very involved in the broader Indianapolis community, serving stints as Vice President of Communications for Indiana Sports Corporation and Director of Communications of Visit INDY. His other experiences have included co-hosting a sports talk radio show, writing a weekly column for the Indianapolis Business Journal, hosting a weekly Inside Indiana Sports segment on Inside Indiana Business television show, and serving as an adjunct faculty member of the Butler University department of journalism.

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