NEW PALESTINE — Representatives from the Indiana Pacers visited New Palestine High School Monday morning as a follow-up to the backboard-breaking antics of the team’s mascot Boomer Friday night.
The Pacers brought a backboard from Bankers Life Fieldhouse to replace the one damaged by Boomer at the start of his halftime show during New Palestine’s game with Triton Central. The Pacers are also going to replace the other goal in the main gym to ensure the two structures match.
“We’re going to have two NBA backboards, I guess,” NP coach Adam Barton said Monday.
The Pacers reacted quickly to the accident, in which Boomer performed one of his trademark acrobatic leaps off a trampoline before slamming a basketball through the hoop. But as Boomer briefly grabbed the rim on the way down, the backboard shattered.
Several fans captured the incident on video. It made ESPN’s “SportsCenter” Top 10 Plays of the Day.
The Pacers will make sure the goals are adjusted to meet the correct specifications.
“We’re working with the school to make sure everything’s right so that the New Pal Dragons can continue their basketball season,” said Greg Schenkel, the team’s vice president for corporate, community and public relations. “We’re happy to do that.”
The Pacers covered the cost of replacing the two goals and Boomer’s appearance fee – roughly $750 plus mileage – as well as giving the Dragons two rims and two nets.
Furthermore, 250 free tickets were made available for New Palestine fans on Boomer’s website Sunday night for this evening’s game against Orlando.
“A lot of our kids are heading that way (tonight),” Barton said.
The Pacers and New Palestine have also talked about having a “New Palestine Night” during a future Pacers home game, possibly in late February.
“We’re still brainstorming on that and trying to figure out how we can do something that’s a good opportunity for them and for us,” Schenkel said. “We don’t have those plans firm, but we’re working on it and would look forward to do something for all of the New Pal fans.”
Schenkel said Boomer makes up to 50 appearances per year. He also said that to his knowledge, Friday night’s incident was the first time Boomer had ever broken a backboard.
Barton was appreciative of the warm response shown by the Pacers organization.
“They’ve been very good,” he said. “They refunded Boomer’s appearance fee, took care of our backboard and are taking care of our kids a little bit.”
The game was delayed and resumed in New Palestine’s auxiliary gym. The Dragons won.
Boomer, the Pacers' mascot, shattered a backboard Friday night at New Palestine High School. Here's a link to a video on YouTube: