Pacers Sports & Entertainment

Corporate Luncheon

Friday, June 28th, 2024

Time: 10:00 a.m. Doors Open | 11:00 a.m. Program Begins

Location: Indiana Convention Center, Sagamore Ballroom

Continuing the theme of Our Legacy, Our Influence, Our Future, the Pacers Sports and Entertainment Corporate Luncheon presented by Indiana University will honor those individuals who have made significant contributions to the Black community as well as those who continue to tell the story about who we are and pave the way for our communities.

On behalf of our organization, thank you in advance for supporting IBE’s year-round youth and family programs by joining us in celebration of cultural excellence at our luncheon. 

corporate luncheon honorees

Our 2024 Award Winners

Soledad O'Brien

Excellence in Media Award

Soledad O'Brien

Soledad O’Brien is an award-winning documentarian, journalist, speaker, author, and philanthropist, and founder of Soledad O’Brien Productions, a media production company dedicated to telling empowering and authentic stories on a range of social issues. She anchors and produces Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien, a Hearst political magazine program seen in 95% of the country. She is a correspondent for HBO Real Sports and was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of fame in May 2023.

Soledad has a national impact through her op-eds, social media, speeches, and books, including her critically acclaimed memoir The Next Big Story and her 1.3 million Twitter followers. She has anchored shows and specials on CNN, MSNBC and NBC’s Today Show, Nat Geo, BET, ABC, and CBS. Soledad O’Brien Productions’ most recent projects include the Peabody-Award winning documentary, The Rebellious Life of Rosa Parks and the multi-part series Black and Missing, which won the Independent Spirit and NAACP awards and streams on HBO. O’Brien’s work has been recognized with four Emmy awards, three times with the George Foster Peabody Award, four times with the Gracie Award, which honors women in media, twice with Cine Awards for her work in documentary films and with an Alfred I. DuPont Award. In 2011, O’Brien founded the PowHerful foundation which has helped dozens of young women get to and through college and connects with thousands of others through regional mentoring conferences.

Edgerrin James

Excellence in Sports Award

Edgerrin James

Entrepreneur, renowned philanthropist, and world-class athlete are just a few words that describe the multi-talented, yet completely humble, Edgerrin Tyree James. As President and CEO of Evolving 8 Enterprises, he leads and inspires a team of young and highly motivated individuals who oversee the company’s numerous business ventures.

Mr. James’ ascent to prominence came with a remarkable and distinguished eleven-season career as a notable professional player in the National Football League. While attending college at the University of Miami, Edgerrin made his mark as one of the best running backs in the school’s history. He continued his legendary start upon entering the pros by winning the AP’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, as well as becoming the first and only player in NFL history to lead the league in rushing for their first two seasons. James eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season seven times during his career and topped 1,500 yards four times. A four-time Pro Bowl choice, James rushed 12,246 yards on 3,028 carries and 80 TDs during his 11-year career which ended with a final season with the Seattle Seahawks in 2009. A three-time All-Pro choice (1999-2000 and 2004) and All-AFC selection four times (1999-2000, 2004-05), James was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of 2000s. On September 23, 2012, Edgerrin James was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor. In 2021, Edgerrin James was inducted into the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020.


Screen Image Award


Leon Preston Robinson, usually credited as simply Leon, is an American actor and singer who began his professional career as a film actor in the early 1980s. Before striking it on the big screen, Leon amassed numerous small screen credits, notably in a 1989 episode of the NBC series "Midnight Caller" and as a co-star in the 1989 ABC miniseries "The Women of Brewster Place”.

Many fans were first wowed by his appearance in Madonna’s most famous video “Like a Prayer,” but more fans flocked to the theaters to see him in the lead role of Disney’s blockbuster hit “Cool Runnings.” He soon graced the screen in New Line’s urban sports drama “Above the Rim,” Tri-Star’s action hit “Cliffhanger,” 20th Fox’ hit “Waiting to Exhale,” Columbia Picture’s “Ali,” the NAACP Best Picture Award-winning “Once Upon a Time When We Were Colored” and the HBO original series “Oz.”

Leon continued to shine in musicals such his roles as J.T. Matthew’s in Robert Townsend’s “The Five Heartbeats” (voted the #1 African American film by AOL), the Emmy Winning mini-series “The Temptations,” as lead singer, David Ruffin, and the authorized biography of “Little Richard” both earning him NAACP Best Actor nominations, in 2000.  In 2009, AOL Black Voices voted Robinson one of the Sexiest Actors of All-time. Between 2013 and 2014, he appeared in four movies, the romantic comedy “I Really Hate My Ex”, the southern drama “Soul Ties”, the indie rock/drama “37”, and the romantic drama, “And Then There Was You”.

Rick Fuson

Reverend Charles R. Williams Award

Rick Fuson

Now in his 39th Season with the Pacers’ organization, Rick Fuson has been influential in shaping events within Market Square Arena, Gainbridge Fieldhouse and elsewhere in Indianapolis and Indiana.

A graduate of Indiana University and a life-long resident of Indianapolis, he joined the staff of Market Square Arena in 1984 as director of special events and helped plan the 1985 NBA All-Star Game. He was promoted in 1985 to vice president. Fuson helped oversee the design of the Pacers’ move to Conseco Fieldhouse (now Gainbridge Fieldhouse) in September 1999. He was promoted to Executive Senior Vice President of Pacers Sports & Entertainment in November 2001. Rick was named Chief Operating Officer in April 2008. In September 2014 he became President/COO. Fuson is Chief Executive Officer as of January 2022. In his current role, Fuson is responsible for operation of all aspects of the business and facilities elements of Pacers Sports & Entertainment.

Throughout his career, he has received such honors as Recipient of the Indianapolis Ambassadors 1988 Community Service Award, Indianapolis Business Journal’s “Who’s Who in Hospitality”, “Who’s Who in Sports” and “Forty Under Forty” and Sports Business Journal’s inaugural “ALL IN: Leaders in Diversity and Inclusive Hiring”. He has also been active with the Indianapolis Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the 1985 NBA All-Star weekend, the grand opening of the Indianapolis Zoo in 1988, the White River Park State Games and Indianapolis Downtown Space 2010.

Corporate Luncheon Table Order Form

Friday, June 28th 2024