On pace for a career

Michael Bradley came to the University of Indianapolis on a scholarship to play tennis and pursue a degree in sports management. When he learned through one of his classes last semester that there were internships available with the Indiana Pacers—one of the NBA’s elite this season—he knew he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

“The Pacers have always been one of my favorite teams,” Michael says. “So I knew that I definitely wanted to try and work for them.”

He checked out the Pacers website and decided to apply for a number of positions within the organization. Michael wound up snagging the Player Relations slot.The internship lasted a bit longer than the semester. During that time Michael was able to gain skills in public relations, hospitality, and patience—especially once the fan mail started coming in.

“A big duty of mine was to go through all the mail and sort it according to player,” Michael says. “At the end of each month there’s an autograph session, and we would send all the autographed cards back to the fans.”

Sorting could be a tedious task, he admits, but the fan interaction with the Pacers was a source of joy. Along with sorting the mail, Michael was in charge of making sure the family of Pacers team members felt comfortable and at ease as they watched their loved ones compete in the games.

a family affair

michael-bankerslife“During game days I would make the passes for the Family Room, where I worked during the games,” he says. “Basically you just cater to the family members, help them feel comfortable, help out with the kids in the room. That was the fun part, watching the game and getting to know all the players’ families and creating a relationship with them.”

One of the most fun memories from his internship came when the Pacers issued a challenge to their fans in a particular section.

“They had the fans in the G2 section do a skit, where everyone got crazy, and they picked the winners. It was cool being with them and seeing that process,” Michael says.

putting with pacers

Another fun activity was the golf outing and getting to putt on the practice course with all the players. The golf outing was the first time he met everyone, so that was “pretty cool,” he says.

He credits his professors at UIndy, Dr. Darrell Cousert from the School of Business and Drs. Michael Diacin and Jennifer VanSickle from the Kinesiology Department, for helping prepare him academically for an internship with the Pacers. He also recognizes that playing tennis has helped him develop his sense of responsibility.

“Indianapolis is a big sports hub. The classes definitely helped me, but I really credit sports in general for helping me stay motivated, organized, and using my time wisely.”

His career goal is to work for the Pacers, the NBA generally, or at a college—as either the athletics director or an athletics staffer for basketball or tennis. Of all his experiences with the Pacers, Michael says that the most rewarding was the opportunity to create a relationship with the players and their families, while getting to know a lot of the employees there and learn how the organization works as a whole.

“The best part is that it’s the best way to get to know the players,” he says. “You’re in charge of their personal lives, in a way, like being in charge of events—just making sure that their daily schedule can ease by without any interruptions.”

—Allison Gallagher ’14