Wednesday, January 07, 2009
When it comes to the NBA, not all of the trail blazers are in Portland. As far as cheer/dance squads, the Indiana Pacemates are real NBA trail blazers. I always wondered about their history, because the Pacemates' logo includes "Est. 1967." Wow, that was a long time ago! The game program from the December 23rd Pacers-Nets game and the Pacemates history webpage filled in some details.
The Indiana Pacers started in the ABA in 1967. To quote the site,
"Since the Indiana Pacers first hit the hardwood in 1967, the Indiana Pacemates have been right there with them! Originally known as the Marathon Scoreboard Girls in the American Basketball Association, the squad evolved into an entertainment entity of the franchise in the 1972-73 season. Then, known as the Paul Harris Pacerettes, the squad presented fashion shows during selected timeouts and halftimes."
Since the sixties and early seventies were such a transitional time, I'd love to know if these fashion shows were crazy psychedelic affairs, or a more conservative Midwestern interpretation with a runway filled with bulky winter coats buttoned from head to toe, or something in between.
This genesis of an entertainment squad blossomed over time.
"The Pacemates' program continued into the 1976-77 season, when the Pacers entered the National Basketball Association. A dramatic new dimension was added to the Pacemates' program when they were heralded as the first professional dance / cheerleading squad in the NBA. Creatively, the Pacemates merged the magic of dance and the excitement of cheerleading into a kaleidoscope of entertainment. So innovative and organized was the Pacemates' program that similar groups began to appear on other teams.
Squads such as the Los Angeles Laker Girls, Chicago Luvabulls and the New Jersey Nets' Cheerleaders could now be found in NBA programs throughout the country. However, it was the Pacers' Pacemates that were the trendsetters. The Pacemates' excellent reputation for entertainment came to the attention of the NBA front office in New York City, who extended an invitation to the squad to perform at the NBA All-Star Game. This was the first time in NBA history that an invitation was extended to a professional cheerleading squad."
Jessica R. and Angela
So, from Scoreboard Girls to a high energy dance squad that also serves as goodwill ambassadors to the community. During the tight game between the Pacers and the Nets, the Pacemates continued their tradition of entertaining the appreciative fans of Conseco Fieldhouse.
Lots of talent on this squad, but I have to give Center Court Standout of the Game to Brittany D, who went from handing out programs as fans entered the arena to showing her big-time moves at mid-court throughout the game. Brittany, be careful, your moves are going to set that hardwood on fire! Brittany is a product of Indianapolis' Broad Ripple High School, where late night star David Letterman also spent his high school days. Brittany D and Letterman, now that would be an interesting "Dancing with the Stars" pair. Think about it Carrie Ann and Bruno!