“I Try To Go Out There And Play With Joy And That Swag And Just Be Me At All Times” | Nuggets Rookie Bones Hyland Escaped Death, Now Shines In The NBA

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On a night where the two MVP frontrunners took center stage, Denver Nuggets rookie Bones Hyland showed out in the team’s victory. In front of 600 or so people from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, Hyland scored 21 points including four fourth quarter threes. This stage wasn’t promised for Hyland, who jumped out of the second story of his burning house as a teenager to save his life. He tore up his knee, and doctors told him he’d never play basketball again.

“Every time I check into the game I do a cross across my chest just to be thankful that I still am in this position just to play basketball because doctors told me four years ago I’d never play basketball again,” said Hyland after helping Denver overcome a 19-point deficit to get the win. “So that’s something that I thank the Lord for keeping me here and keeping me going. That’s something I play for each and every day. I try to go out there and play with joy and that swag and just be me at all times.”

In 2018 after his junior basketball season at St. Georges high school, Hyland’s family home caught on fire. He had to leap out his second-floor bedroom window, and he suffered a debilitating knee injury as a result. He also lost his grandmother and 11-year-old cousin in that fire.

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If there was ever a moment that would derail a person, this was it. But he pushed through his rehab, grieved and went on to play college ball at VCU. He was drafted 26th by the Nuggets in last year’s daft.

Due to injuries to starting point guard Jamal Murray, Hyland has had an opportunity to play, and he’s making the most of it.

Among the 600 people in attendance in Philadelphia for Monday’s game were members of Wilmington firefighters and first responders who saved his life. Hyland has developed a bond with them and before the game, the firefighters presented Hyland with a custom Wilmington Fire Department jacket.

“Just to come back to my hometown, close to my city, 30 minutes away, and put on a show here, that’s a dream come true for me,” Hyland said. “Like I always say, I’m a kid that wants to show the next kid from the city that this can be you in my position. Growing up I never had anybody who could show me the ropes and that guidance, and so I want to be that guy for the younger youths and keep leading and keep showing them.”

Hyland’s four threes in the fourth quarter were from Steph Curry range and were critical in helping the Nuggets come from behind and seal the game.

“I just knew I was gonna get hot and hit a couple bombs,” he said with a smile. “I kept saying to myself, ‘I know I’m gonna hit it. I know I’m gonna hit it.’ And I got two opportunities where I was wide open and I hit one and there was one in transition and I was like, ‘I’m letting this one fly,’ and I let it fly and it was bottoms.”
“You do good to people, you get good back. I’m a very humble kid. I wear my city on my forearm and I’m always gonna put on for my city. I play for things that’s bigger than me.”