On the 2020 National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Weekend in Chicago, Illinois, Chavano “Buddy” Hield, the Grand Bahama native, further distinguished himself as one of the game’s best long-distance shooters in history. He won the three-point contest, on Saturday night, and at the same time, sent a huge message.
“I am one of the true marquee players in the game today. I should not be coming in off the bench. I am a starter!”
Those were not words that he expressed when interviewed after adding to Bahamian-flavored success on NBA All-Star Weekend, but the jump for joy was about more than winning the three-point contest with 27 points against the Phoenix Suns’ Devin Booker, who put up 26 points in the final round, and the Washington Wizards’ Davis Bertans, who put up 22.
The Bahamian sharp-shooter made a statement.
For the last nine games, going into the all-star break, Sacramento Kings Head Coach Luke Walton had his highest scorer on his team playing in the second unit. This hasn’t gone down well with Hield. He has not openly commented on his displeasure, but in essence, what has come forth from his mouth, clearly indicates he thinks he should be starting.
He should be! Most who observe him think the same way.
For now, though, he can bask in the glory of being the latest-crowned-king of the NBA All Star Three-Point Contest.
Hield got invited to the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend activities. He was entered in the three-point contest, but came up short. The Brooklyn Nets’ Joe Harris and Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors battled along with Hield in the final round. Harris won to deny Curry his second all-star three-point title.
This time, it was Booker who was edged out and denied a second title. Defending Champion Harris was entered as well, but didn’t advance to the final. Also overshadowed by Hield, were the likes of Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young and Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls. What makes winning the three-point contest so special, is that this is the age of the long gunners. Routinely, now, players are putting up the ball from well beyond the arch, in some instances, just a few steps past the half-court line.
You have to be skilled and blessed with steeled determination, like Hield was on Saturday, to succeed. Booker was sitting with 26 points and Hield got down to his last shot. He canned it and took that delighted jump, seen around the world.
Hield, with the victory, deepened Bahamian-flavored success on NBA All Star Weekend. Klay Thompson (Bahamian father in Mychal “Sweet Bells” Thompson) started the ball rolling when he became an all-star in 2015. He was selected up until last year. He is out this season, with an ACL injury (anterior cruciate ligament). Thompson won the All-Star Three-Point Contest in 2016 and is a distinguished basketball player with Bahamian roots with the Warriors. He has three NBA titles.
Eric Gordon (Bahamian mother in Denise Gordon) won the All-Star Three-Point Contest in 2017 and has been a star in his own right from the time he entered the NBA in 2008. He has played with the Los Angeles Clippers, the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans, and, presently is with the Houston Rockets.
Hield has placed himself in grand company. Congratulations Buddy!
Best wishes and hopefully you continue to enhance The Bahamas’ sports brand.
• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.