You may have noticed that Roy Hibbert, All-Star center for the Indiana Pacers, has been showing up all over sports media coverage recently. Even if you weren’t too familiar with Hibbert before, you’ve most likely seen him on sports television somewhere during the past week. Not since Hall-of-Famer Reggie Miller graced magazine covers and shot commercials in the 1990′s, have the Indiana Pacers truly had a face for their franchise that was very recognizable in the media. Hibbert, who was Indiana’s first All-Star since 2009, could very well be the guy to help bring the Pacers back into the public eye for good reasons.
Hibbert has been getting his name and face out a lot recently. He appeared on several ESPN shows last week, made an appearance on NBA TV, and even competed in a hilarious NBA scavenger hunt against media darling Jeremy Linon Jimmy Kimmel’s pre-game live show before game one of the NBA Finals. Last fall, Hibbert even appeared as himself in a cameo role on two episodes of the Indiana-based NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation”.
Hibbert, both cordial and charismatic, seems to be endearing himself to the rest of the NBA nation, as he has done since 2008 for the Indiana franchise. Roy’s “Area 55″ initiative, which has been in effect for the last two seasons, is one of the most ingenious and generous offerings from a player to his fans. In the off-season, Hibbert holds auditions for the loudest and proudest Pacer fans. After the wildest fanatics are chosen, Hibbert buys out an entire section of season tickets, resulting in some of the loudest fans in the NBA for Indiana’s home games. Recently, Hibbert even took some members of “Area 55″ to the movies, for a screening of “Prometheus.”
In these days of social media, athletes seem closer to their fans than ever before. Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers have taken that idea to a whole new level, not only appearing on various national media outlets, but also becoming familiar faces on the streets in and around Indianapolis. It seems that the NBA is just now beginning to find out what Indiana has known for quite some time.
You can follow Roy Hibbert on Twitter – @Hoya2aPacer
You can also follow J.M. Nicholas for more sports coverage – @hootiewhodisbe