How long have you been a Skyforce season ticket holder?
“You know, I’m not sure. I’m pretty sure it’s been over 20 years.”
What keeps you coming back and what do you enjoy most about Skyforce games?
“It’s just a great form of entertainment. Where we sit, we’re lucky enough to meet the players and get to know the coaching staff, as well as the players. You just kind of feel a connection with them, then. You can really appreciate their story. You can be excited with their accomplishments, and you can kind of cry with them a little bit when they make mistakes and have some disappointments. So it’s almost like you’re part of the family, where we sit. It’s kind of like…you don’t want to miss a family reunion, you know? It’s kind of like that. We’ve enjoyed everything from the ownership and management staff to meeting the players, and there’s many of them that we still keep in contact with.”
If you had to choose one or two, what would be your favorite Skyforce memory or memories from over the years?
“The obvious one is the championship in 2015-16, you know, and the record that we had and everything. That’s the obvious one, but some of my favorite moments actually go back to the old CBA days. I think the only thing that’s missing within the new NBA G League is that back in the CBA we had some really intense rivalries. So far in recent years, and it’s probably because of the youngness of the league, we don’t have that in quite the same way. I remember back to playing against the Dakota Wizards. They were our arch enemy. I remember the night we paid tribute to Fred Tibbetts. The Wizards were booed and everything every time they came into the building, and that night, they went over and shook Nate’s hand. I remember thinking, ‘wow, that’s pretty impressive!’ … those are some of the things that I remember most. The rivalries with the Dakota Wizards, Rapid City Thrillers, the Omaha Racers, and of course the championship from a couple years ago.”
Who is your favorite Skyforce player of all time, past or present?
“Oh boy… I would say my favorite was David Bailey. It seems like I’ve always appreciated the little guys that have no regard for their body. He was that way. Of the more current players, I would say Jabril Trawick and Rodney McGruder were two of my favorites.”
What have you appreciated about being in the Sanford Pentagon, and what do you think gives us such a great home court advantage and basketball atmosphere there?
“Reflecting back a little bit again… when we were back in the old [Sioux Falls Arena] during the 1990s, for sure during the mid-90s to 2000, they used to pack that place with five or six thousand people a game. Because of that, because of the noise level and everything, that was basically a momentum builder and ‘the sixth man’ or whatever you want to call it. Now at the Pentagon, they’re able to recreate that. The place is packed. It’s noisy and everything. Most of the people that come to the games, I feel like, have probably made a commitment to the Skyforce and are at least partial season ticket holders, in a sense. So the fans come to the game, and it’s kind of like, the Skyforce is there baby. Because the fans have made a commitment all these years, it seems like they come to the game with more intensity and more passion as well. A full place, a noisy stadium, and the passion of the crowd is definitely something that I see the players enjoy.”
Who do you attend games with most often, and why do you think it has been beneficial for you to be a season ticket holder and a member of the Skyforce family?
“Well my wife [Karen] comes to the games, every one of them, with me. In fact, she’s probably more dedicated to make it to every game than I am. Because we’ve been long-time season ticket holders, it’s a social thing too, because we know just about everyone sitting around us. We always come early and we stop and visit with everybody. It’s a new social group for you. It’s friends that you’ve made that you consider to be friends now because you’ve seen them forever. So, it’s my wife that comes with me all the time, and we’ve just gotten to know everyone around us and consider them to be part of our social group as well.”