Detroit Pistons rookie guard Jaden Ivey did just about all one can do in a debut to win over a fan base.
Not only did the Purdue product turn in an impressive 19 points on 53 percent shooting en route to a 113-109 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, but he also caught the eye of fans before the game at Little Caesars Arena.
The jersey Ivey wore is James Hunter’s, his late grandfather, who played defensive back for the Detroit Lions for seven seasons in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Hunter led the Lions in interceptions in three of those seasons, and his 27 interceptions for Detroit rank him seventh in franchise history.
The Pistons presented the jersey to Ivey as a gift in June after drafting him No. 5 overall. Ivey wasted no time in giving his grandfather a shoutout on Twitter after being selected and tearfully donning a Pistons hat onstage.
Ivey’s connections to Detroit go beyond just his grandfather, however. His mother, Notre Dame women’s basketball coach Niele Ivey, played for the Detroit Shock of the WNBA in 2005. His father, Javin, was a student at Detroit Country Day School.
Just as his grandfather specialized in taking the ball from the other team, Ivey registered three steals against the Magic. His swagger on both ends of the floor is a welcome sign for Detroit fans, who hope the Pistons are no longer an NBA doormat.
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