Hammer time: Hawks invite fans to ‘Pound the Pacer’
ATLANTA — Hawks radio play-by-play announcer Steve Holman signed a waiver, donned a hard hat, pulled on some work gloves and protective goggles and grabbed the sledgehammer.
He was the first one to get a chance to "Pound the Pacer."
Starting at noon before Saturday’s Game 4 of the Hawks’ first-round playoff series with the Indiana Pacers, Hawks fans got three whacks for $5 apiece at an AMC Pacer. (According to a 2007 Time magazine article, the 1978 model of the vehicle, which was produced from 1975 to 1989, was labeled the ugliest car of all time, citing a poll of car enthusiasts.)
"I think anything that gets our Hawks fans excited and ready to go, I think it’s a terrific idea," Holman said. "It brings our people together and our fans have been terrific all year and especially the other night in that game here, even our guys said it was the best crowd they’ve seen and I think it inspired our guys to win and I hope it does again today."
Holman was asked if he did any damage to the car, which was painted in the Pacers’ blue-and-yellow color scheme for the event.
"To myself, no?" he said. "To the car, I don’t think so either."
FOX Sports South and SportSouth analyst Mike Glenn also participated in the event, as did the FOX Sports South Girls.
The idea was the brainchild of Hawks senior vice president of marketing Peter Sorckoff. He said Hawks vice president of production and creative David Schindler located the car, which had 59,000 miles on it, in Virginia. Sorckoff said before the paint job the car was rendered in "biscuit and centurion red."
"It’s a good reason to get down to the building early," Sorckoff said of fans, several dozen of whom crowded around to participate and to watch, "and get people in the building earlier. It will be a raucous crowd tonight, there’s no doubt about it."
Proceeds from the event benefitted the Atlanta Hawks Foundation. According to its Web site, the Hawks foundation is dedicated to "improving the quality of life of Georgia youth by inspiring them to develop a passion for learning and a commitment to physical fitness and recreation." Last September, it made a $25,000 grant to renovate a basketball court at a Boys & Girls Club in Marietta.
Phil Gerber was first on line with his son, who was too young to participate. Only those 18 and above were allowed to participate after signing the waiver.
"I really want to beat the Pacers really bad," Gerber said, "It might be one way to take out a little fan aggression right there."