It was another beautiful weekend for the Indianapolis 500 Parade in Circle City! While the quantity of celebrities paled in comparison to last year’s event, the pomp and circumstance certainly was not diminished. Cheerleaders and musical acts started the show, and the crowd was as big and excited as ever. Despite the threat of possible protests, the scene was calm and family-friendly!
It was definitely a time for nostalgia, as members of the 1955 Crispus Attucks High School basketball team and cheerleading squad served as Grand Marshals of the event. Representatives of the team included LeVern Benson, James Enoch, John Gipson, Bill Hampton, Albert Maxey, Willie Merriweather, Sheddrick Mitchell, Henry Robertson and Oscar Robertson. The 1955 championship team was the nation’s first (entirely) African American high school to win a championship. Despite their win, the team was unable to ride around Monument Circle in a fire truck, as tradition allows. The parade-goers were witness to the team finally earning their spin around the circle. As one of the cheerleaders told us, “we are just as proud at 75, as we were at 16,” and that is it “never too late for excellence.” When asked if he still cheers on his high school alma mater, Oscar Robertson (who was hesitant to take any spotlight) shared that “despite their current setbacks,” he fully supports the team.
Pacers golden boy, Paul George, was accompanied by coach Frank Vogel. Recovering from recent injuries, George was excited to experience the race for the first time, as previous years have been spent preparing for the NBA playoffs. He is settling into his role as a member of the Indianapolis community, and feels that he hasn’t quite done enough for the community…yet. With the help of Colts’ Pat McAfee, he delivered the green flag, via helicopter, to the race track the next day.
Frank Vogel, on of the NBA’s youngest head coaches, is definitely a family man. When asked if he would be at the track on Sunday, Vgel was quick to let folks know that he would be at the soccer field instead, cheering on his child. When not busy with planning June draft prospects, Vogel is enjoying time with his family, and what Indy has to offer.
Nastia Liukin, am Olympic gold medalist was happy to be back in Indianapolis, this time off of the balance beams, and on her way to the parade! Coming off of competition in “Dancing with the Stars,” Liukin is looking forward to finishing her studies at NYU, and offering her talents as a sports agent to young athletes. While a tour around the track in a 2-seater may not have her behind the wheel yet, it seems there isn’t anything this athlete can’t accomplish!
Nico & Vinz, the Norway-born duo known for the hit “Am I Wrong,” helped open the parade, and were excited to experience the 500 for the first time. Be on the lookout (or listen) for other upcoming hits from this due, who have toured with the likes of Usher and Bruno Mars.
While the theme of the parade was “Celebrating the Stories of May,” the common story that is shared by all in attendance, is the love of the Indianapolis 500, and our amazing city!