ESPN's Jeff Goodman took a trip to Freeport, Bahamas, the hometown of Oklahoma star Buddy Hield. During the trip, whererin he also met Hield's brother and family, Goodman tweeted a photo of one of the basketball hoops he used growing up.
One of Buddy Hield's homemade hoops here on his street in Eight Mile Rock in Freeport. pic.twitter.com/1U9bKZ9sxR— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) March 29, 2016
In his The Players' Tribune post, Hield wrote about building his own hoops at age 11, which were not as extravagant as he'd envisioned -- at times, the hoops would break apart and he'd have to rebuild them with new materials -- but were built from the heart by someone who had (and still has) a deep love for basketball.
I was determined, though. I would explore abandoned houses for materials. I’d break off pieces of plywood from houses, but they were never the right size or shape. So I’d get a saw and try to cut it, but I was too small to hold it steady. My first few backboards were crazy looking. All sorts of bizarre shapes. Looking back, they were kind of artistic and cool.
I loved the feeling of creating something out of nothing. I don’t just mean the basketball hoop. I mean the freedom the hoop gave us. Freedom to play whenever we wanted.
That photo feels like a symbol of Hield's journey: growing up with little in the Bahamas, to having dreams of becoming a basketball star, to having people doubt in his abilities to be a great basketball player, to becoming the best college shooter since Stephen Curry.
"Creating something out of nothing" was something Buddy grew up doing, and now, with this year's NCAA Tournament, in which he's taken Oklahoma to the Final Four, he's become his greatest creation.
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