PHILADELPHIA — Former VCU Rams basketball star and current Denver Nuggets rookie guard Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland had an emotional night during the Nuggets' game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday.
It was the first time Hyland played professionally in the Wells Fargo Center, which is just 30 minutes from his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.
It was in his hometown where his basketball career began and almost ended four years ago.
According to ESPN, a fire in 2018 consumed Hyland's Delaware home, and he had to jump from an upper floor to escape. Firefighters helped save his and his brother's life, but the fire tragically claimed the lives of his grandmother and young cousin.
Hyland was told by doctors he’d never play basketball again after injuring his knee from the landing, ESPN reported.
But on Monday night the NBA rookie wasn't just playing basketball — he stole the show with four fourth-quarter 3-pointers and 21 points overall to help lift Denver to a 115-110 victory over Philadelphia in front of friends, family, and dozens of members of the Wilmington Fire Department who came to support him.
ESPN said the firefighters presented Hyland with his own custom jacket from the fire department before the game, highlighting the eternal bond he has with the first responders who helped rescue him that day.
"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," said Hyland in a tearful interview after the game. "I play for things that's bigger than me."
Hyland had a decorated career at VCU, where he was the first VCU men's basketball player to get selected in the first round of the NBA draft since 2010. He was also an Atlantic 10 Player of the Year and shot 50% from three in his second year with the Rams.