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February 17, 2017

Buddy Hield

New Orleans, Louisiana

Q. The Malaysian fans, any wishes for them?
BUDDY HIELD: Thank you so much and keep on supporting me. Hopefully, I can see Malaysia one of these days when I'm on vacation this summer. Respect.

Q. Do you have any pregame rituals?
BUDDY HIELD: Yeah. Listen to my music, meditate.

Q. Any advice for kids who want to play basketball?
BUDDY HIELD: Just keep working, man. Work beats talent any day. You keep putting the work in, you can do anything.

Q. What's it like, Buddy, having this rookie year, having the game in New Orleans?
BUDDY HIELD: It's fun. New Orleans is a fun city. I think it's pretty cool as a first-year rookie. It's more about getting the experiences. So first All-Star weekend and first All-Star week. It's special.

Q. Tell us about that happy birthday round-up at the beginning of practice. What was that all about?
BUDDY HIELD: They just said there's a talent show and wanted us to dance and say happy birthday. I just said happy birthday to All-Star weekend.

Q. It's been an amazing year for you. And your first weekend with the Rising Stars Challenge. Just describe the last 12 months.
BUDDY HIELD: It's been crazy. It's been truly a blessing to experience all this, you know, college, NBA, soaking this up. It's fun, man. I just can't say how blessed I am to be in this situation. Just got to keep humble and keep working for better things.

Q. And the city of New Orleans. What's it been like for you in this city in particular?
BUDDY HIELD: It's been a blessing, too. I always thank God for allowing everything. Rookie year has a bunch of ups and downs, but just got to keep fighting through adversity and keep trusting God.

Q. What's your approach to this game? A lot of these All-Star games, people just kind of loaf or don't want to play too hard. Do you want to judge yourself and measure yourself against the rest of these great young talents?
BUDDY HIELD: It's great to watch somebody compete and try to get the best out of them. Go and have fun. It's a weekend of fun for the fans and the city. Go out there and compete and have fun and try not to get injured.

Q. Anybody in particular you want to go up against?
BUDDY HIELD: Anybody that challenges me. Just play and compete and have fun.

Q. We are from Johannesburg in South Africa. There are fans in Johannesburg watching the Rising Stars Challenge. What's your advice to other players in Africa?
BUDDY HIELD: There's not a lot of resources. But guys have a lot of raw talent, and they need someone to work with them and increase their talent and increase the high level skill and get better each and every day. The more time you put in, the more you try to get better, push yourself to be better every day. Whether you're in Ireland or in Africa, wherever you're at, you can be wherever you want to be. Keep pushing yourself and keep trusting God to get you to that point.

Q. Buddy, we just talked to Jahlil Okafor, and he was saying how difficult it's been with the trade talk and all that stuff. I was wondering what it's like on the other end of things listening to all the stuff out there and the trade possibilities.
BUDDY HIELD: You can't worry about that, man. Everything is all rumors until it happens. People say things. My first year in the NBA, a lot of people say things, what their opinions are. I'm not falling for that. I'm worried about basketball and trying to get wins for my team and get in the playoffs.

Q. Do you take stock at this time of year, at the midway point? And what do you think has been the biggest challenge in kind of transitioning to the NBA?
BUDDY HIELD: Consistency. You want to be consistent night in and night out. It's kind of tough when you're a rookie. You don't get as much playing time as you want to out there. It's all about trust. It's about trusting your coach and hearing his opinion more. So being consistent for myself, being consistent on the court, and learning from mistakes and being how I want to be.

Q. What about the off-the-court stuff, just adjusting to the travel and the 82 games and everything that comes with being an NBA star?
BUDDY HIELD: Just get a lot of rest, man. Just get a lot of rest and stay away from nightlife and all that stuff. Just be humble and thank God for the ability to play in the NBA because it could be taken away from you at any instant.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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