Hield leads Blue Team's upset of the starters, Jarace Walker wins Rookie Show in front of a sold-out Pacers FanJam
Recap, quotes, notes and a box score from FanJam — plus video from each Rookie Show performance.
Among the thousands of Pacers fans inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon, nobody had a bigger smile afterward than Buddy Hield.
Two words: Bragging rights.
The Blue Team defeated the White Team (the starters) 51-44. And immediately after the buzzer sounded to the intrasquad scrimmage, Hield walked directly to the White Team’s bench to keep talking trash — like he does so well. Remember, he was part of the White Team last season; so far, he’s been playing off the bench.
Then, after his winning team decided on the consequence — losers ran seven times across the width of the court for the difference in score — he stood there on the sidelines and kept talking, especially to his “best friend” Tyrese Haliburton.
“I’m always getting bragging rights on Ty, it’s nothing new,” Hield said, true to form. “It was fun though, going out there and compete, be in front of the fans and show what we’ve been working on this training camp.”
Back on media day, head coach Rick Carlisle announced that he was changing the approach to FanJam — the annual pre-season free event for fans — and it was going to match their theme for camp: competitive integrity. “… We’re gonna do this as a real game, not just a normal fun, go out there and shit-fuck around,” he said.
So instead of the public scrimmage feeling more like an All-Star game with highlight 3s and dunks, he was also raising the stakes.
They treated it like a fifth preseason game: game uniforms, separate coaching and training staffs, team introductions, G League officials and even a stats crew.
I think I’ve covered every one of these for more than a decade and this was definitely a first. And as a result, pre-sale tickets (which were free) sold out days before the event and fans just about filled the lower- and club- levels.
I’d estimate about 8,500 fans in all.
“Usually it’s more like an All-Star game,” said T.J. McConnell, the starting guard on the Blue Team, “but to come out and essentially get an extra practice and a scrimmage in is a first for me and it ended up working out well for all of us.”
To up the ante, Carlisle had the team practice inside The Fieldhouse on Friday. Now before their practice facility opened in 2017, every camp practice was on the main floor. But no need anymore. And to end practice, the Pacers broke into their white/blue teams for a competitive scrimmage to determine who got the locker room.
That’s a big deal.