Danica Patrick gains perspective before preparations for Indianapolis 500

Danica Patrick, right, and Aaron Rodgers, left, spent a week in Africa taking part in a Starkey Hearing Foundation program where they fitted people with hearing aids.

Danica Patrick doesn’t think her recent trip to Africa will have any direct impact on her approach to the Indianapolis 500 next month.

It might affect her approach to life, but as far as relieving anxiety or having a profound change on her outlook as she embarks on her final race, she doesn’t expect much of a change.

“One of the cooler things about him is he generally, especially when walking into the room, makes you feel relaxed and down to earth,” Patrick said. “He was kind of joking around with people and smiling, and that kind of made everyone relax a little bit.

“He went into his perspectives on things and had a nice message about how to treat each other and kind of an all-for-one attitude. It was really cool.”

Patrick said that one of the monks who accompanied them on the trip suggested she show video of one of her IndyCar wrecks to the Dalai Lama.

“They couldn’t get around the fact that in an IndyCar, I go 240 miles an hour — that’s like unfathomable, so I was showing [the monk] some accident videos and he was like, ‘You should show him that,'” Patrick said.

“He did see a video, and apparently they talked about it later that night. So that’s funny. I’m like, ‘Can’t we show me winning at Japan? Isn’t that better than crash video?'”

But that wasn’t the reason James’ teammates doused him with water in celebration on the floor. They toasted him because of his complete effort, which included 44 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists with the sort of attack-dog mentality that not only saved the season but also pushed off thoughts of James’ free agency for at least a few days.

“As a kid, you always have those ‘three-two-one’ moments, and being able to have one of those moments, that’s what it kind of felt like. Felt like I was a kid all over again,” James said. “Just playing basketball at my house, makeshift hoops and my socks as a basketball. Making the [swish] noise.”

The Pacers were frustrated that they allowed James to have so much space — tracking data from Second Spectrum showed that James had 4.6 feet of room when he launched the shot. A switch had gotten Thaddeus Young, who had five fouls, to guard James, and he allowed too much cushion.

“We had a timeout to talk about what we see out there, and we had a foul to give,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan. “We’re leaving here with both of them.”jets_139