The Indy Pro Am kicked off on Tuesday at IUPUI with the first four games of the summer tournament. Everyone had their eyes on Lance Stephenson as he walked into the arena and suited up for the Black team. The Pacer's guard was by far the most established player to show up and helped lead his squad to a 72-62 victory over the Dark Blue team.
After the game Stephenson admitted he had no idea if the rumors of Larry Bird leaving the team were true, but strongly hoped to see the Pacer's President stay in the Circle City.
"I hope it's just a rumor," said Stephenson. "He played a big part in my career and with the Pacers. He's like a father to me and keeps me focused, in the right spot, and in the right mind frame."
There are a number of NBA and college stars on the Indy Pro Am roster, but it's never guaranteed who will show up for each set of games. George Hill and Eric Gordon are both on the Red team, but were not present at IUPI on Tuesday. If Gordon, the former Indiana Hoosier, participates in the Olympics it is doubtful he will ever play in this year's Pro Am.
Mario Chalmers of the Miami Heat is on the Green squad and Jeff Teague of the Atlanata Hawks is set to play for the Dark Blue team. Former Purdue stars and current Boston Celtics, Juan Johnson and Etwan Moore, will continue their partnership for the Purple team. Western division foes Al Harrington and Josh McRoberts will play together for the Light Blue team while former IU big man DJ White suits up for the Royal Blue team. Daquean Cook of the Thunder and Norris Cole of the Heat just finished facing off in the NBA Finals, but will now pair up to play for the Maroon team.
There are multiple IUPUI players participating and a Butler Bulldog, Chrishawn Hopkins, who will play for the Royal Blue team. Hopkins had a terrific start to the Pro Am, constantly hitting three pointers and playing stellar defense. He was the star in Royal Blue's 81-50 win over Red.
"I've been working out, practicing my defense, and working on my shot all summer," said Hopkins. He understands the immense benefits of playing against talented and physically imposing players. "It helps me out a lot during the season, especially playing against the NBA and overseas players," Hopkins said.
The tournament will continue with all four teams scheduled to play this Thursday.
Knox Indy Pro Am kicks off with Lance Stephenson participating
Stephenson says he hopes Larry Bird is not leaving the Pacers
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