By RENALDO DORSETT
IN a meeting between two Bahamian basketball icons, Buddy Hield and Rick Fox produced a discussion on everything ranging from Hield’s story to the connection between the Bahamas and the LA Lakers.
Fox, now an analyst for NBA TV, hosts a segment called “Fox After Dark” and his episode this weekend featured Hield in his preparation for the NBA Draft.
The highly touted former Oklahoma Sooner said he expects June 23 to be a night filled with emotion when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver calls his name in the draft.
“It’s going to be a lot of emotion. I have seven brothers and sisters and we have all been in the struggle with my mom and my stepdad Richard, he’s along with us and he’s been a part of the struggle too although nobody really knows about him. My grandparents will be there and all of my family that have been a part of the struggle. All that emotion will turn into tears of joy and it will be a relief, but I still can’t be satisfied yet because the best is still yet to come for me,” he said.
“[Wherever I go] I bring a good character kid who loves to play hard and who loves to work. I hate losing more than anything and I’ll do whatever they need me to do. If they need me to play defence I’ll do that but I’m a scorer at heart so I’ll try to be the best two-way player I can be on and off the court.”
Hield said he has worked diligently on the holes in his game since the NCAA season ended in April, most notably extending his shooting range, inspired by the unanimous MVP.
“I’m taking it a step back. Steph [Curry] has helped me to make up my mind. The game has changed so much, now watching him play I have to increase my range. I feel like when I go to the NBA I want to impact the game with a lot of scoring, a lot of shooting so I have to take a step back and let it go. Off the dribble stuff has been all that I have been working on and getting into my shot.”
Fox suggested that Hield might draw comparisons with the other members of the Warriors vaunted “Splash Brothers” backcourt.
“Klay Thompson is a catch and shoot guy, lightning quick. You know the bloodline. He’s got Bahamian blood in him. It must be something in the conch or in the water,” Fox said.
Fox, the former Kingsway Academy Saint, was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1991 and spent six years with the franchise before he joined the Lakers in 1997. Fox won three titles with the Lakers alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.
“Mychal Thompson got two championships as a Laker. I had three championships as a Laker and I always feel like the Lakers are better with a Bahamian on the roster,” Fox told Hield.
“I think so too. I grew up a Laker fan, but wherever God takes me I’m happy with it. The best situation that fits me I’m happy with it,” Hield responded.
Hield revealed that this was the second meeting between the two years after Fox granted the wish of an autograph seeking Hield when he was just primary school student in Grand Bahama.
“You were in Freeport one time, Christmas time and you signed my dollar for me,” Hield said, “But I lost it. I woke up the next morning I couldn’t find it and I was crying like a baby. I might have spent it on candy,” Hield said, “I think I was one of the few that got to you. Everyone was rushing to you, I was so small but somehow I got there.”
Fox replied asking if it was a native Bahamian “Pindling” or an American dollar.
“Now, years later I want a Bahamian dollar signed by you,” Fox said, “And I guarantee I’ll frame it.”
It’s a small community. diverse with a lot of Bahamians and a lot of Haitians down there. I just had to separate myself from all the crime and all the bad things and just focus on basketball. Whether it’s being on the court or just being in my area Pinedale and not trying to make any trouble. I had a good mother, good grandparents and they kept my head grounded. My brothers and sisters helped me learn right from wrong and I just stayed grounded, I knew what my vision was and I didn’t let anything sidetrack me from getting there.”
Hield, expected to be one of the top selections in the June 23 Draft, completed his star-studded senior season for the Oklahoma Sooners with a litany of awards, including the John R Wooden, Naismith and Oscar Robertson Player of the Year trophies.
He is projected to have a likely destination of teams looking for shooting and backcourt help.