Unlikely friendship sparked by man’s battle with cancer grows as the Pacers push through playoffs

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Posted at 6:43 PM, May 23, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Pacers’ playoff push is in full swing and the stories behind the fans have really started to come out.

“This whole Pacers season has been intertwined with this. It just keeps getting better and better,” Andy Stocker said. “It’s been an amazing ride. We’re friends for life.”

Jake Marshall is in his late 20s. He has cancer but his cancer isn’t all that defines him. His love for the Pacers is what he wants people to remember him by.

“On December 22, 2022, I was diagnosed with Stage Four Synovial Sarcoma,” Marshall said.


But it’s his love for basketball that got him in a bit of a sticky situation.

Marshall bought tickets to a previous Pacers game on Facebook and was unfortunately scammed.

Our hundreds of dollars and a bummed spirit, he says he didn’t think he’d be able to attend another game with many of his financials going towards cancer treatments.

Both Stocker and Marshall joined a Pacers fan page on Facebook. It’s a space that has grown significantly with thousands of people taking part in Pacers conversations.

“I knew I couldn’t go to all of them, so I prayed to God like I wanted to be good with these tickets,” Stocker told WRTV.

Marshall made a simple post warning people he had been scammed, and a quick friendly gesture turned into a great friendship.

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Stocker gave his tickets up to Marshall, and now the pair go to games together all the time.

“The friendship bonded right there on the spot,” Marshall said.

The pair live hours apart with Marshall in Lebanon and Stocker in Evansville. However, Indianapolis is their mutual space.

“I just started living my life,” Marshall said. “I started going back out and doing stuff. Going to games, doing this and that. I was weak, I still am weak, but I am strong up here.”

It’s the kindness from one man that’s showing it’s truly more than a game of basketball.

“I know what it means to him. This means more than anything. But to have what we have with the Pacers is a fun, added bonus,” Stocker said.