Danny Granger to Host Sunday Dinner for Pacers' Arena Workers

Normally, planning any event on a Sunday in mid-January would be sacrosanct in Indiana. No, not because of that Jesus guy. Because of that Manning guy. But things didn’t work out so well for the Colts this year. So this was an ideal day for Danny Granger to host the free dinner he promised to the then-locked out workers at the then-Conseco Fieldhouse.

It’s not clear how much of the dinner’s price tag is coming out of Granger’s sizable pockets. When talking to Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star, he noted that “the team stepped in to help.” Regardless, the event is for “the part-time employees who did not get paid from July 1 until Nov. 26,” and will include raffles, games and “special guests.” The other night on Twitter, at @JeffRabjohns noted that Rik Smits was at Assembly Hall for the Indiana University/Minnesota game. Wouldn’t be surprised if he showed up.

UPDATE: Pacers offered these details on Twitter about which employees will be invited: “The guests include personnel from crowd management, Levy, event workers, security, stat crew, greeters, box office, gift shop and EMT.”

Granger also shared these thoughts on the dinner with Wells.

“I wanted to do something for these unsung workers and for the sacrifices they were making with lost income. Now, it’s the best of everything, the team stepped in to help, we’re playing, they are back making this the best place to come to in the NBA, and we can get together for some food and fun.”

The Pacers play tonight in Toronto and then rush back home to take on Boston tomorrow evening. Then, however, they are off until Wednesday. Seeing an NBA team schedule this season with three straight days off — coming off a home game, no less — is almost like seeing a Sasquatch. So this makes an ideal time to hold the dinner. Danny and his teammates that stop by are sure to enjoy the meal and the rest before they head off to Sacramento for a Wednesday game that kicks off a brutal stretch of schedule.

I mean, just look at the next two weeks in the life of the Pacers. It’s 7 games in 12 nights and none of them will be easy. Sacramento and Golden State aren’t scary but it’s a West Coast road trip, and the Warriors play small and the Kings play fast. Then, in their next five, Indiana plays four teams that have made it to the Finals in recent years (although Boston isn’t that scary of late). The other is against, in Chicago, a team that had the best record in basketball last year. And four of these are on the road.

After tonight’s (presumed) win in Toronto, the Pacers should be happy with 4-4 over the next 8.

The only good news? When they finish up in Orlando, they head home to take on the D-League Nets.

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