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The Pacers are changing the approach to annual FanJam event: 'Everything matters'
Before their first home preseason game, the Pacers will hold a competitive scrimmage in front of fans at this free event on Oct. 14.
The Pacers’ annual FanJam will be held on Saturday, October 14th at 12:45 p.m. — door opens at 11:30 a.m. — and it will be treated differently than in previous years.
Head coach Rick Carlisle is changing the approach so that they can be more productive and make better use of their time on the court while, at the same time, giving fans their first glimpse of the team.
All are welcome at Gainbridge Fieldhouse for this free event, which attracts roughly 8,000 fans each October.
In previous years, the scrimmage portion usually features a combination of dunks and 3-pointers over two 10-minute halves. Then, there’s been a 3-point contest, a skills challenge and memorable rookie show.
“We’re going to treat it like a real intrasquad game,” Carlisle said. “We’re gonna have league-assigned officials. We’re gonna wear real game uniforms and we’re gonna do this as a real game, not just a normal fun, go out there and shit-fuck around. This will be essentially a fifth exhibition game for us. And that’s going to be real important because that game falls during a period where if we had had a fifth game, that would’ve been the perfect time to have it.
“So we’re going to create as competitive a situation as we can.”
Top assistant coach Lloyd Pierce will coach one team and Mike Weinar will coach the other.
Carlisle, who also serves as president of the National Basketball Coaches Association, called the league office to request game officials and they will have a G League crew for the scrimmage.
“It’s valuable time,” said veteran center Myles Turner. “It’s an exhibition for the fans, but it’s also a chance for us to keep working on our stuff, working on our sets. I think Rick is just in that mode of where he doesn’t want to waste any time this year. We have strides to make so that’s another opportunity to do it.”
And yes, Turner confirmed, there will be a rookie show. That’s not changing as long as he’s a Pacer.
“Oh, absolutely,” he said excitedly. “I’m still here. We’re definitely doing that.”
Pacers Preseason Schedule
Sunday, Oct. 8: at Memphis Grizzlies — 8:00 p.m. ET
Tuesday, Oct. 10: at Houston Rockets — 8:00 p.m.
(FanJam) Saturday, Oct. 14 — 1:00 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 16: v Atlanta Hawks — 7:00 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 20: v Cleveland Cavaliers — 7:00 p.m.
Pacers FanJam is typically on a Sunday afternoon, but not this year.
Also on Oct. 14th, the Purdue football team has a home game against Ohio State, Indiana is on the road at Michigan, and Notre Dame hosts USC in the evening. (And Swifties may be in the theaters for the movie.)
“It’ll be a different approach to FanJam and I think our fans will really like it,” Carlisle added. “I expect we’re gonna have a lively building.”
The Pacers have a full 18-man roster for what will be a fascinating training camp since both minutes and roles are up for grabs.
“The competition for minutes is real,” Carlisle said after Day 1. “There’s no point in pretending it isn’t. Every second out here counts, every minute counts. We’re being very detailed with every little thing that we’re doing in practice — everything from defensive footwork to offensively to how we’re crashing the boards.
I hope to see you there.
Update: Oct. 9 at 4:05 pm.
The Pacers sent out a press release with more details for the event.
Tickets are free, but required. And they are available on Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m. ET. Click here.
Parking is free in the Virginia Ave Garage.
First 5,000 fans to enter will receive a complimentary T-shirt and food voucher valid for one hot dog, a bag of chips, and a 12 oz. Pepsi product.
The intrasquad scrimmage will consist of two 15-minute halves.
Fans who have received a previously distributed wristband will have an opportunity to get their picture taken with a Pacers player.
Fans who donate $1 will have the opportunity to attempt a free throw on the home court of the Indiana Pacers! All proceeds benefit the Pacers Foundation and only cash will be accepted.
And this is new:
In celebration of Jr. NBA Week and the launch of Jr. NBA Leagues in Indiana, the Jr. NBA and the Indiana Pacers & Fever are inviting boys and girls ages 6-14 to participate in a youth basketball clinic led by the Indiana Pacers coaching staff from 10-11:30 a.m. at Bicentennial Unity Plaza.
Participants can register here. Space is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. All youth must be pre-registered.
All participants will receive a free Jr. NBA Leagues t-shirt, NBA All-Star shooting sleeve, two tickets to attend FanJam immediately following the clinic, and have the chance to interact with Indiana Pacers and Fever talent. Click here to learn more about Jr. NBA Leagues.
Watch highlights below from last year’s scrimmage, which went into overtime.
I’ve covered every FanJam over the last decade; however, they were unable to host one in 2020 due the pandemic. Here are my stories (with video) from the past seven.