The late Kobe Bryant's influence can be seen all over the NBA today as many of the league's stars grew up idolizing the Los Angeles Lakers' legend.
Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield - who wears No. 24 in honour of his all-time favourite player - is a great example of that, and he put on a show for his hero in the team's improbable win over the Minnesota Timberwolves the day after Bryant's death.
The Kings trailed the Timberwolves by 17 points with under three mintues to go in the fourth quarter, a deficit that would take a miracle to overcome. According to ESPN Stats & Info, since 1996-97 when play-by-play data became available, teams were 0-8,378 when trailing by 17 or more in the final three minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.
Against all odds, Sacramento became the first team to pull off a win.
It took a bizarre play from De'Aaron Fox and a career-night from Buddy Hield, but they made it happen.
Trailing by two with under five seconds remaining, Fox perfected the intentionally missed free throw for a putback to send the game into overtime.
De'Aaron Fox intentionally misses the free-throw, gets the rebound and lays it in to force OT. pic.twitter.com/FY2nrEpAQk- NBA (@NBA) January 28, 2020
The Kings would win the game in overtime, thanks in part to Hield's stellar fourth quarter and extra period.
Hield scored 20 of his career-high 42 points in the fourth quarter on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting from the field to overcome a 25-point deficit in a win, joining his idol Bryant as the only player to achieve that rare feat in the last 20 seasons.
Hield's 42 points came 24 shots to go with five rebounds and three assists. In his post-game interview, he dedicated his performance to his all-time favourite player.
🐍 Career-High 42 PTS- Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) January 28, 2020
🐍 24 FGA
🐍 No. 24
🐍 8 combined REBS + ASTS
🐍 W@buddyhield did it for Kobe. pic.twitter.com/9Sv3IrRKDi
"I was thinking about (Kobe) a lot. Even before the game, my brother called me and said 'do it for Kobe'.
"Everybody in the Bahamas [Hield's home country] knows what Kobe meant to me. All the arguments and fights I got in saying he's better than Michael Jordan. I know I shouldn't say that, but he was all I knew growing up. He's all I watched. ... Kobe was always that guy for me. He made me believe and that's why I'm here today in the NBA."
He also admitted he felt his performance ended up being a little calculated in favour of his idol.
"In overtime I didn't want to score no more. I had 42 points with five rebounds and three assists. Turn the 42 around and that's 24. Add the five rebounds and three assists that's eight (8) man. That's all Kobe man," Hield stated.
"Rest In Peace, Kobe. That's all for Kobe man."
Below, you can see the pair of sneakers Hield was wearing to honour the late, great Kobe Bryant.
Kobe to Da World.@buddyhield shows love to his idol. pic.twitter.com/CkhY04e3p1- Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) January 28, 2020