The number of NBA All-Star Games Roy Hibbert has intentionally avoided since breaking into the league will soon hold a 4-2 lead over those he’s watched.
For Indiana’s 7-foot-2 center, it’s all about being there in person.
As a player, not a fan.
“I always go somewhere (during the All-Star break). I usually don’t watch the All-Star Game, to tell you the truth,” said Hibbert, an Eastern Conference reserve for the
second time in three years. “I’m usually somewhere. Either Mexico or somewhere where I’m in a jacuzzi. Somewhere where there’s sand.”
Not accustomed to being a backup player in high school, college or the pros, Hibbert’s initial moments of Sunday night’s game will be on the East’s bench.
Nearly within reach will be the East’s coaching staff of Indiana head coach Frank Vogel and Pacers assistants Dan Burke, Nate McMillan and Popeye Jones.
Continuing the heavy dose of Pacers representation is 6-9 swingman Paul George, a starter for the Eastern Conference.
Hibbert and George are the franchise’s first two-time All-Star players since Jermaine O’Neal’s run of six consecutive appearances from 2002 through 2007.
Hibbert’s initial taste of All-Star status unfolded in 2012 in Orlando, with the East rallying from a 19-point halftime deficit but coming up short, 152-149. The center played a total of 10 minutes, scoring three points and collecting three rebounds.
NBA All-Star Games have been known to be more about style than substance, given the glitzy pregame activities, player introductions and flamboyant play.
Hibbert, a substance guy to the core, promises nothing more than a steady diet of Roy Hibbert — which means defending the rim, rebounding and taking advantage of whatever scoring opportunities come his way.
“The first couple of minutes are usually a lot of dunking and a lot of showing off. But we’ll see how the game flows,” Hibbert said. “The last five or six minutes things usually get tougher on defense.
“I’m going to be serious. I’m not going to go out there and be out of character.”
The All-Star players and coaches arrived in New Orleans on Thursday to begin what will be a dizzying series of autograph sessions, community events and other activities leading up to the game.
It’s here Hibbert, large and accomplished as he is, figures he might actually be able to blend into the background.
“I’m just here to answer the questions,” Hibbert said. “I know who (media) is here to talk to, Paul, so I’m just going to go about my business and go have fun.”