This blog will chronicle my attempt to visit all 30 NBA Arenas during the 2007-08 season.

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Contact info: Drew Cieszynski 2637 N. Frederick Ave. Apt# 106 Milwaukee, WI 53211 / 717.676.9963 / acieszyn@hotmail.com

Click below on "2007" to view the first 13 arenas.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Indiana Pacers (#17)

This one will be tough to beat.

So on one of the coldest Saturdays I've ever experienced, I made the 4 and a half hour drive down to Indianapolis. Accompanying me on this trip would be Wes Givens, who has attended baseball games with me previously in Washington DC and Milwaukee. He is well-versed in all sports, so it's always great to have him along.

I had heard rumors that the Conseco Fieldhouse was nice, but I wasn't prepared for how beautiful this arena was.

Wes & I met up with Jeff McCoy about 90 minutes prior to tip-off. The lobby itself was immaculate.

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Jeff provided with some gifts to show our Pacers spirit during the game.

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The first thing that Jeff pointed out to us was above the box office. A mechanized board with letters and numbers flipping as they would at a train station.

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He also mentioned that the ads here have to give the sense of an "old fieldhouse." You'll notice the throwback versions of the Budweiser and Pepsi ads.

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Below you see Bowser's dog house. To date, the Pacers are the only team I've visited with 2 consistent mascost. Bowser is a dog and Boomer a cat.

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Throughout the arena, there are photos, jersey, and other memorabilia hung tastefully all over the walls. One exhibit even commemorated Ann Meyers, the only woman to ever sign a contract with an NBA team, the Pacers.

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All ads within the arena must still be hand-painted on the walls.

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The court

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A mural showing the retired Pacers

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The Varsity Club

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All of the signs throughout the arena must be lit by a spotlight, with the exception of the scoreboard and where it is not feasible to do so.

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Inside one of the suites

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Spacious hallways

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Jugglers & Magicians entertaining fans before the game

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Heading towards the gift shop, you'll encounter one of the largest basketballs you'll ever see...

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Some fans have personalized seats

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The Pacers practice court. Built with windows above, fans can watch the players practice from the street.

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The conference room

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Press Conference room. One of the most spacious I've seen to date.

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These panels are strategically placed around the arena so that newscasters can go live from all over the arena. When I met David Benner, Director of Media Relations, I mentioned how impressed I was with the arena and how it seems that they thought of everything. He told me that when they were planning the arena, they asked everyone who worked there how to make it accommodating rather than simply telling an architect to build it. It truly shows.

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We walked by one of the workout rooms for the players. Kenny Thomas pumping the iron inside.

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The set of the Pacers pre-game/post-game show

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The control room

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After interviews and such, many of the players and other personalities sign this wall. Can you make out any of the signatures?

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Donnie Walsh, President of the Pacers sits courtside.

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What came as the biggest surprise was when Jeff handed us our tickets. Each ticket had a $601 face value and Don Walsh's name on them. First row!!! I had never sat courtside before this evening!

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The Pacers banners

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Larry Bird casually sitting in a seat further away than us.

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Player introductions

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Tip-off time

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When Ron Artest came off the bench into the game, he blew kisses to the crowd. After every made basket, he continues to provoke them.

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Granger did his best to keep Artest in check

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Kevin Martin back from injury. He still leads the NBA Tour through 17 games with 44 points

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Mikki Moore throws it down

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Brad Miller fighting Foster for a rebound

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Jeff Foster from the corner

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Danny Granger going to the bucket

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Travis Diener for 3

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Scoreboard

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Documenting Arena# 17

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Check out that sign!

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This was one of the first times that the Kings were at full strength with Bibby and Martin back from injuries and they showed it early on. Also helping the Kings' cause was that Jermaine O'Neal would be sitting this one out. Danny Granger showed that he is one of the up-and-coming stars and kept the Pacers in the game (26 points).

I was telling Wes earlier in the evening that of the first 16 games, all but 3 of them had gone down to the final minute. When Ron Artest made a jumper to give the Kings a 15 point lead (95-80), Wes commented that this wouldn't be one of those close ones. Not so fast. The Pacers go on a 15-4 run fueled by Granger. Mike Dunleavy later made a 3 point basket to cut the lead to 2 with only 24 seconds left to play. While the excitement one more went down to the wire, the Kings made crucial free throws & got the win.

Gene Keady. The guy next to us was a friend of Francisco Garcia and went up and got his autograph.

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Wes & I shooting free throws after the game:

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Some pics of the downtown Indianapolis:

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For those who haven't noticed, the NBA Tour has encountered miserable weather at most times. Up next, a trip to Florida for Orlando and Miami. Let's hope the weather cooperates this time around.

I'm still trying to get in touch with the SPURS & ROCKETS. If anyone has any contact information, please let me know. Please help me get in touch with the SPURS by going to the following link: http://www.nba.com/spurs/news/club_directory.html
Tell them you want to see NBAdrew appear at the AT & T Center!

Thanks to Scott "I-Pass" Bellmyer, Jeff McCoy, and David Benner.

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