Selected as one of the league’s top young talents to participate at NBA All-Star Weekend, Buddy Hield relishes the opportunity to compete alongside other players who received the same honour.
Hield was named to the “World Team” roster of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, a game that traditionally features the best rookie and sophomore players in the league.
“The World is stacked,” Hield said prior to Wednesday night’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, “It’s going to be fun playing with guys like Embiid, Porzingis, Jamal Murray, Sabonis, Emmanuel Mudiay. It will be fun.”
Joining Hield on the World Team is Joel Embiid (Cameroon) of the Philadelphia 76ers, as well as two members of the 2015-16 NBA All-Rookie First Team in Serbian center Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets and Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks, along with Emmanuel Mudiay (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Jamal Murray (Canada) of the Denver Nuggets, Danté Exum (Australia) and Trey Lyles (Canada) of the Utah Jazz, Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania) of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dario Saric (Croatia) of the 76ers.
The U.S. Team features three rookies and seven second year players headlined by Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves. The remainder of the team includes Devin Booker and Marquese Chriss of the Phoenix Suns, Malcolm Brogdon of the Milwaukee Bucks, Brandon Ingram and D’Angelo Russell of the Los Angeles Lakers, Frank Kaminsky of the Charlotte Hornets, Jhalil Okafor of the Philadelphia 76ers, Jonathan Simmons of the San Antonio Spurs and Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers.
“It’s exciting,” Hield said of getting to participate in the exhibition game. “As a rookie, you’ve got to be excited for the opportunity. It was always on my bucket list to be a part of it. I’ve just got to stay humble, keep getting better and hopefully I can be in the All-Star Game like (Anthony Davis) one of these days.”
With his family expected to attend, Hield called it an honour to be able to represent both the Bahamas and his new home, the city of New Orleans.
“It means a lot. It’s New Orleans. My family is going to be here, to see me play and AD,” Hield said. “It’s a big accomplishment. I’m just happy for it to be in the city and for fans to be able to watch us.”
Hield had previously expressed his desire to compete in the Foot Locker Three Point Contest.
“I would like to do it,” the Oklahoma Sooners product said, smiling. “It might not happen, but if any guy decides to opt out, I’m willing to take that spot.”
In 46 games, including 25 starts thus far Hield is fourth among rookies in scoring at 8.8 points points per game and shooting .37 percent from three-point range. He also adds 2.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists in approximately 20 minutes per game.
Hield was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December after leading West rookies in scoring at 10.6 points per game and a three-point field goal percentage of 48 while he also led all rookies with 33 three pointers made.
The game will be televised live by TNT from the Smoothie King Center at 9pm local time on Friday, February 17.