O’Neal and Granger return ‘home,’ — Mathis’ team prevails in Celebrity Softball Challenge 2017

It was a fun but humid evening Thursday at Victory Field. More than a dozen Pacers players — past and present — came together with other local sports stars and celebrities to play in the ninth annual Caroline Symmes Celebrity Softball Challenge.

The event, which benefits the Indiana Children’s Wish Fund, was co-hosted by the Pacers’ Paul George, and the recently retired Robert Mathis of the Colts. George’s squad connect with their bats early on, but it was Mathis’ team taking home the trophy. 8-2 was the final.

The most interesting thing I observed at the game wasn’t from the game itself. Rather it was Pacers President Kevin Pritchard attending for the first time and spending the entire game in Paul George’s dugout. There to be there for Paul, there to watch, and there to show his full support for the great event.

Other Pacers who attended: Myles Turner, Jeff Teague, Joe Young, Georges Niang, and head coach Nate McMillan. The group of former Pacers was highlighted by Jermaine O’Neal and Danny Granger, who traveled from Texas and Arizona, respectively, to participate. Those two looked comfortable and right at home back in Indianapolis, in Pacers colors, and around team employees.

“This is where I grew up,” said O’Neal, who played here from 2000 through 2008. He will soon be playing in The Big3, a 3-on-3 tournament founded by Ice Cube.

Among the Colts on hand: T.Y. Hilton, Donte Moncrief, and former players Gary Brackett and Pat McAfee.

Randomly throughout the game, game participants threw t-shirts and other goodies into the stands. Niang gave the jersey off his back to a fan, as did 2015 Indianapolis 500 Champion Alexander Rossi.

Catch highlights from the night below:

Photo Gallery:

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