Jim Morris is an executive with experience doing some heavy lifting as a leader, so the Pacers brought him in to help hoist the Pacers image around town in hopes of rekindling the passion lost by many fans.
Morris has already made quite an impression by scooping up lighter items that when stacked together over time, begin to add up. Over the past few weeks several small events have included either players, coaches, or the organization in general, subtly putting the Pacers in position to absorb a positive light.
The latest little nugget of exposure was the announcement of a sponsorship agreement with the #4 National Guard Panther Racing car for the Indy 500. The Pacers logo will cross the bricks on Sundy when Vitor Meira takes the green flag in the #4 car. According to the report, a Morris connection made it happen:
The Indiana Pacers logo will appear on the No. 4 National Guard Delphi car driven by Vitor Meira. The partnership between the Pacers and Panther Racing is a product of the friendship between Pacers President Jim Morris and Panther Racing co-owner John Barnes.
This culminates a strong showing from the Pacers this May at the Speedway.
Jim O'Brien camped out on the Speedway infield as part of a charity even for the Wheeler Mission.
The next day, Danny Granger waved the green flag to open the track for practice. His genuine excitement was real nice and made Danny appear like any normal part of the Indy community, just hyped to be at the track.
A couple of days later, former Pacers Darnell Hillman, Mel Daniels and Bob Netolicky presented legendary IMS track announcer Tom Carnegie with an autographed jacket on behalf of the franchise.
Danny Granger and Jeff Foster will participate in Saturday's 500 Festival Parade downtown which is always a huge event.
None of these events would merit much publicity on their own, but the drip, drip, drip of these type of events start to make an impression after some time. The team desperately needs to connect with the community and the best way to do that is to go out and engage the community. Actually make yourself a part of the community.
I have to give Jim Morris credit for working with what he has, in what should be a dead publicity period for the Pacers, and squeezing out some genuine, positive good will from the public.