Pacers and Fever team up to deliver a heartwarming gift ahead of holidays

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Maybe you have heard it before. And ahead of 2022, it has never been more appropriate: Being nice doesn’t cost a dime.

On Thursday evening inside the newly renovated Gainbridge Fieldhouse – just a gem of a place to watch basketball – Pacers Sports and Entertainment served over 600 special guests a meal ahead of the holidays.

The “Come to Our House” annual celebration was officially back following a year away due to heavy COVID-19 restrictions in 2020.

For moments on Thursday, the joy of getting back together did feel normal again.

Led by Pacers Sports and Entertainment President Rick Fuson, Pacers two-time all-star forward Domantas Sabonis, and a dedicated team of volunteer workers behind the scenes, Thursday was an uplifting scene from start to finish.

“I’m just happy to be here, happy to give back to the community,” Sabonis said. “It’s been a great five years here, ever since I got traded here. Everyone’s welcomed me with open arms, loved me, supported me. It’s just a small token of appreciation to give back.”

“I’m just happy to see everybody here.”

One of the cooler scenes of the evening included Fever General Manager and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Member Tamika Catchings, who is preparing for arguably the organization’s most important draft since she was selected in 2001, making time to step in as a volunteer server.

“This right here is what it’s all about,” Catchings said. “You think about a season of giving and being able to make a difference to so many lives, so coming out here, I served. I told them I made the salads (laughs), some of them believed me, I suppose, but it’s always good to see some smiles.”

As the night started to wind down, Fuson took a moment to send a message to his team for orchestrating the evening.

“I want to say thank you to them, they are the heart of our team,” Fuson said. “Whether it be the players or the coaches, (Pacers General Manager) Kevin Pritchard and his wife, or whomever you are, your heart makes a difference in our community.”

With these voices leading the pack, this longstanding tradition of giving back during the holiday season isn’t going anywhere.