New Orleans Hornets’ forward Ryan Anderson climbed the stairs at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena last week to greet approximately 40 family and friends.
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The former Oak Ridge High basketball star felt at ease in an arena he’s called his second home.
For Anderson, in town to play against the Kings, the familiar faces were a welcome sight and softened the blow of the Hornets’ loss.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Anderson as he walked to the team bus awaiting to take them to the airport. “With all the talk of the Kings leaving, I have so many memories. It’s just an amazing experience coming back and playing in front of family.”
The Kings-Hornets’ game was physical. Anderson came off the bench in each quarter and provided punch against the Kings’ front court duo of Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins, finishing with nine points and five rebounds.
“It was a physical game,” Anderson said. “They’re a physical team. They were ready to fight and score. We just didn’t have the fight back.”
Last summer, Anderson — who turns 25 next month — almost signed with Sacramento but opted for New Orleans for a reported $34 million for the next four years.
His memories of the former Arco Arena go back from the days watching the Kings to his involvement with Oak Ridge playing for Sac-Joaquin Section, NorCal and State titles.
Anderson played two years for Cal Berkeley before entering the 2008 NBA draft. He was selected by New Jersey Nets and after a season, traded to Orlando where he remained for three seasons.
Anderson is no doubt looking at a long NBA career but here’s a thought: his final team he suits up for is Sacramento.
Pretty sure he’d more than embrace the idea without question.
So too would family and friends. Last week, they were just as happy to embrace him.
Contact Mike Bush at 530-344-5079 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @MBushMtDemo on Twitter.