As Buddy Hield prepared for his Smoothie King Center debut Tuesday night, his mind is also back home in the Bahamas.
“It’s a scary time when you have a hurricane coming to the Bahamas, especially coming to our islands,” Hield said after Tuesday morning’s shootaround. “People work hard down there.”
Hurricane Matthew has killed at least seven people in recent days across the Carribean, according to the Associated Press.
Matthew, which has had winds up to 145 miles an hour, damaged the southwestern corner of Haiti on Tuesday, about 700 miles from Hield’s home.
Hield has seen his share of storms before growing up in Eight Mile Rock, just west of Freeport.
“I’ve been in a bunch as kid,” he said. “I’ve been in two bad ones but I can’t remember the names of them. They tore the whole Bahamas up.”
Hield’s mother has already left for China, where the Pelicans will travel after Tuesday night’s pre-season game against the Indiana Pacers. But Hield still has plenty of family members back in the Bahamas, including one of his brothers, his step father and aunts and uncles.
So Hield is trying to keep up with his family while also balancing basketball.
“It is hard,” he said. “Back when you were kid you like when the storm comes because it means no school. Now as you get older and experience, it’s not a good time because it hurts people financially and causes bad flooding and winds are so strong and tears people’s house apart. Poles crashing on people’s houses. There are so many things that can go wrong in a hurricane and you always hope it doesn’t affect the people bad. I just hope the category reduces to a 2 or a 1 where it’s like a tropical storm.”
Meanwhile, Hield looks to try to put together another solid performance. He scored 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting in the Pelicans’ pre-season opening 116-102 victory over Dallas on Saturday in Bossier City. He also had six rebounds and three assists in his 25 minutes.
He played his first pre-season game in New Orleans Tuesday night. But his thoughts, of course, were back home.
“I just wish them the best and I know God is going to protect the Bahamas,” Hield said.