INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Pacers Hall of Famer Reggie Miller was courtside for their game Sunday against the Detroit Pistons and he had a special surprise in store before the game.
As both teams went through their pre-game warmups, the Pacers honored longtime public relations director David Benner. He was presented with a framed Pacers jersey from CEO Rick Fuson and Kevin Pritchard, the president of basketball operations.
The framed jersey had Benner's name on the back, along with the number 28 to signify the number of seasons he worked for the organization.
Benner then turned around and was stunned to see Miller with his oldest child, Ryker.
Miller, who played 18 seasons with the Pacers, was supremely superstitious and their most memorable routine occured before games when Benner talk trash while wagging his right index finger in Miller's face. It worked once, so it continued.
Then at halftime, Miller and Benner joined Mark Boyle, the radio voice of the Pacers, at center court to discuss Benner and his career working for his hometown team.
The team is also naming the public relations office in the media room after Benner, a graduate of Center Grove High School and Indiana University.
Here's more on Benner from a news release before the season:
Benner’s impact on the organization and media relations department since his arrival prior to the start of the 1994-95 season has been immeasurable. Under his direction, the Pacers became the first two-time winner of the Brian McIntyre Media Relations Award (2010-11, 2012-13), issued annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association (PBWA) to the NBA media relations staff that exemplifies the standards of professionalism and excellence worthy of acclaim
Benner and his staff also played key roles in the organization being recognized by the PBWA with the Rudy Tomjanovich Award (2013-14), which honors an NBA coach for his cooperation with the media and fans, as well as his excellence on the court, and the Magic Johnson Award (2003-04), which honors the player who best combines excellence on the basketball court with cooperation and dignity in dealing with the media and the public.
Benner has been a key fixture with during numerous organizational public and media relations successes, including six Eastern Conference Finals and one NBA Finals appearance, as well as multiple individual player awards that include a Defensive Player of the Year, Most Improved Player, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year, while working closely with some of the league’s most popular and recognizable players.