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Special Olympics Indiana benefits from NBA All-Star Game

Tyrese Haliburton #0 of the Indiana Pacers and Eastern Conference All-Stars is shown in action on Feb. 18, 2024, against the Western Conference All-Stars in the fourth quarter during the 2024 NBA All-Star Game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. (Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – There were many winners during this past NBA All-Star Game weekend in Indianapolis.

Some of the winners included Team Pacers (Skills Challenge), Damian Lillard (3-Point Contest) and Mac McClung (Slam Dunk Contest).

There was another winner though who wasn’t competing on the court. 

Thanks in part to the Eastern Conference All-Stars’ victory of the Western Conference All-Stars in the Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game, Special Olympics Indiana was arguably a big winner as well.

The organization previously was guaranteed to receive $100,000 plus $950 for each assist. Well, thanks in part to the East wining 211-186 in the highest-scoring All-Star Game ever, Special Olympics Indiana, which teamed up with the Eastern Conference All-Stars, received an additional $240,000. 

“An additional $7,500 also will be donated to Special Olympics Indiana as part of the influencers trick shot contributions,” a news release said.

Overall, that means Special Olympics Indiana will get almost $450,000, which will be used to support “the more than 19,000 athletes within its programs.”

Jeff Mohler, president and chief executive officer of Special Olympics Indiana, said in the release, “The entire experience was life-changing for the athletes. Just to be part of the weekend was absolutely incredible. We’re so thankful that we have great partners in our community like the Pacers. These funds will play a crucial role in expanding the reach of health initiatives and sports programs for individuals with intellectual disabilities.”

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton put on a show all weekend long in front of the home crowd, including in the All-Star Game itself, when he scored 32 points in the Eastern Conference All-Stars’ victory. 

John Wheeler is the team captain for the Shelby County Magic basketball team. Before the actual game started, Wheeler presented Haliburton with his NBA All-Star ring. Wheeler in the news release said, “It was an experience of a lifetime and I will never forget it.”