Tamika Catchings, Mel Raines wave green flag for Indy 500 qualifications
Two leaders of Indy's 2024 NBA All-Star Host Committee provided updates and then waved the green flag before qualifications at IMS.
Indianapolis is just 272 days out from hosting NBA All-Star Weekend for the first time since 1985. It was supposed to be held in 2021 — but the pandemic forced Indy’s time to shine back there years.
On Saturday morning, two representatives from the local host committee were at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and served as honorary starters at 11 a.m. to mark the beginning of a very important day for drivers and their teams: Indy 500 qualifications.
It was Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings, a co-chair of the board, and Mel Raines, the president of the host committee (and also the president/COO of Pacers Sports & Entertainment).
“It’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done for sure,” said Raines, who joined the Pacers in 2015, said of getting to wave the green flag “As a native Hoosier, you always know about 500, I’ve been many times, but I never thought I would be climbing this ladder and waving the flag with a dear friend too, which makes it even more fun.”
Added Catchings: “I think it means a lot more, too, because we’ve been waiting for the NBA All-Star game for a long time and it’s right around the corner. So this is a big step in being able to announce it and what a fun way to do it. Cool to be here.”
Before the two climbed up to wave the green flag together, they provided updates on the host committee (which includes over 400 individuals).
“We’re starting to get into the details, the nitty gritty, the hard work of it,” Raines said. “The league has been out a few times over the last few weeks to look at venues and to watch perimeters. I anticipate, between now and the Fourth of July, we’ll have some exciting things to announce what we’re working on.
“Our goal continues to be how do we make this the most community-focused event that we can so our community gets to be a part of it and that this international basketball community, the eyes of the world, will be on us.”