OKLAHOMA CITY – The last few home games for the Oklahoma City Thunder have not only been successful for the team, but have also served as a welcome home to some notable faces in the NBA.
Last week, the Thunder faced the Washington Wizards and their head coach, Scott Brooks. Brooks spent seven seasons with the Thunder before being let go nearly two years ago.
On Sunday, the New Orleans Pelicans visited Chesapeake Arena, including former Sooner standout Buddy Hield. Hield led the Sooners to a Final Four appearance in Houston last season.
When he was announced inside Chesapeake Energy Arena, Hield received a standing ovation from Thunder fans.
— Oklahoma Basketball (@OU_MBBall) December 5, 2016
Despite being on the opposing team, Hield said it still felt like a homecoming game for him.
“I have so much respect for the people of Oklahoma. You know, this is home for me. Everybody, when I come back, they embrace me well, like the warm welcome they gave me. I had a lot of jitters, and I shot the corner and everybody stands. I shot an air ball but I had to make it up to them, so it was a good confidence game for me,” Hield said. “I really appreciate the fans down here.”
In fact, when Hield hit a 3-pointer, the crowd went wild.
Loud, open cheer for Buddy Hield as he hits a 3. Like it was as if Westbrook nailed one.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) December 5, 2016
.@buddyhield for THREE and the crowd in OKC LOVES IT!
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) December 5, 2016
Hield went on to say that the start of the season has not turned out how he hoped, but he feels like coming back to the Sooner State may have put him on the right track.
“Just trying to find something for me to get back on my right, get back to my regular self. It’s not normal for me to miss shot after shot, but I feel like coming here helped me get my confidence back so I can move on forward,” he said.
Hield is averaging just 6.9 points per game, but he ended up scoring 16 points for the Pelicans on Sunday.
“I have so much love for this state. Like I said, it’s home for me,” he said.