Roy Hibbert

With his massive size and even more massive contract, Roy Hibbert almost feels a responsibility to serve as bouncer for the Indiana Pacers.

If that requires him to interrupt an interview with a throng of reporters to make sure that his locker room neighbor D.J. Augustin can get dressed, to cover for Paul George to block New York star Carmelo Anthony’s dunk attempt or even if he has to absorb a knee to the groin from the Miami Heat’s Shane Battier while contesting a layup, the 7-foot-2 Hibbert wants be there for his teammates.

“I always tell guys, if they get beat, don’t foul them, I’ll be there to clean it up,” said Hibbert, the former Georgetown standout said. “It’s just that I feel I’m important. I want to be on the court. That’s why they brought me back. That’s why they gave me all this money.”

Last summer Hibbert signed a four-year contract for $58 million, the maximum he could receive under the collective bargaining agreement, but at no time has he appeared more valuable to the Pacers than right now. He has proven to be the difference maker thus far in the Eastern Conference finals against the defending champion Heat, which shift here to Bankers Life Fieldhouse for Sunday night’s Game 3 tied at one game apiece.

Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post