Kings fans and anyone paying attention to the NBA already knew Buddy Hield was a threat from 3-point land, especially when he got rolling. What they learned on January 19, 2019 was that he was also a world-class sprinter and hurdler.
OK, not really.
After hitting a buzzer-beating 3 to stun the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena, Hield ran off the floor toward the tunnel — but had to leap over an extended camera cord en route to the locker room.
Hield was 7 of 9 from downtown and scored a team-high 35 points that night in the 103-101 win.
“All glory to God, He’s been blessing me in so many ways,” Hield told reporters in the locker room that night. “As a kid, you always dream of hitting one of those shots, especially at a high level like this, and it’s something I will cherish the rest of my life.”
I was in Detroit on that snowy night covering the game for The Sacramento Bee.
Hield’s backcourt mate knew it was money when the ball was launched.
“When he shot it, it looked good the whole way,” De’Aaron Fox said. “I mean he was hot. … I had no doubt that it was going in.”
The shot was impressive — Hield took an inbound pass with 3.4 seconds left and no timeouts, fumbled the catch but corralled it, spun free and put up a shot off his left leg for the all-net game-winner. But the leap Hield took to avoid the wire while in full stride made the moment that much more memorable.
“The lady almost tripped me. I think she was trying to trip me,” Hield said. “She put it up high. Thank God for my track background, I was able to hurdle over the wire.”
It was the ninth time that season the Kings won a game after trailing by double digits and cemented a season sweep over the Pistons, who lost at Golden 1 Center nine days prior.
It was also the Kings’ second buzzer-beating victory of the season. Bogdan Bogdanovic hit a 3-pointer as time expired in a 117-116 home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 27, 2018.
Hield had another game-winner with the Kings — a tip-in at the buzzer in overtime to beat the host Nuggets in the 2020-21 season opener — but his run off the court was unobstructed this time.
Despite being the franchise leader in 3-pointers made, Hield often was a source of frustration for Kings fans. Still, it’s safe to say that they all remember and maybe even cherish his sprint and leap off into the Detroit tunnel.