There’s a reason why the Sacramento Kings presented the 26-year-old Buddy Hield a four-year, $94 million contract extension this past October. The talented shooting guard has a tireless motor, a smooth transition game and a 19-point, five-rebound output you can count on most nights.
There’s also a reason why NBA Crossover, an immersive exhibition where the intersection of basketball and pop culture is explored, had Hield serve as its ambassador during a showcase in Milan over the summer. Hield, a Bahamas native with a laid-back demeanor and a larger-than-life smile, is just the kind of guy you want representing your league on a global stage.
If you’re longing for an in-depth chat, however, Hield will cross you over. As we discovered during our interview with the rising hoops star, Hield answers questions quickly and succinctly. But we get it—the NBA season is heating up. There’s not a whole lot of time for chit-chatting when you have a game tipping off in a few hours. All things considered, though, the questions we did get answered constitute a win for us.
Tell me about your role with the NBA Crossover initiative.
I was just interacting with the fans, answering questions, doing Q&As, exploring the city and learning about a new culture. It’s a good vibe.
Had you been to Italy before?
No, it was my first time.
What did you learn about Milan?
I knew it was the fashion capital of the world. I knew it was a big city. I knew the food was different. I knew about their pizzas and pastas. People were nice, man. It’s a different culture. I love the vibe over there. It’s really cool.
As a whole, what do you think about the NBA’s global expansion?
I think it’s cool. I think it helps our organization make strong ties.
How big is basketball in the Bahamas?
It’s popular and it’s blowing up, but we haven’t really had any guys make it on the highest level. It’s been like that since day one.
When you go home, do you get time to relax?
It’s crazy, man. The airport is always packed when I go home. It’s a good vibe.
What do you love about Sacramento?
I think it’s the fan base and the organization, man. They’ve been A1 since I got here. Everybody always has the right spirit.
If you were playing tour guide for a day around the city, where would we go?
We’d go to Punch Bowl Social. It’s right by the [Kings’ Golden 1 Center]. And Frank Fat’s. That’s one of my favorite restaurants. It’s a Chinese spot I go to every other day and eat a big meal. I’m really picky about food but it’s a Chinese spot that’s dope as ever.
You had a great 2018-19 season. What areas are you trying to get even better at this year?
I’m working on how to draw fouls at a high rate. I’m working on [my shooting] from 25-plus [foot] range, too.