Manila, Philippines — Tyrese Haliburton Tonight, immediately recite the upcoming 2023-24 NBA schedule from memory.
January 30, 2024. Indiana at Boston, 7:30 p.m
“It’s my daughter’s birthday too, so I know,” he said. “But yes, this is the night.”
This game is special for them Indiana Pacers Star, outside of the birthday, because for the first time in his young career he will be able to play on TNT, watch the pregame show “Inside the NBA” and enjoy the prime-time attention that comes with it.
“What! “You’ve never played on TNT before?” Team USA teammate exclaimed Mikal Bridgeswho sat nearby before a practice last week and is a veteran of dozens of nationally televised games.
“You knew that, brother,” Haliburton said. This is an issue for those who spend time around him.
“I was at ESPN once, we beat the Wizards last October.”
The 23-year-old will be happy to be on ESPN2 when Team USA plays Montenegro in the second round of the FIBA World Cup on Friday. After beating Jordan 110-62 on Wednesday, they finished the first round 3-0.
That fact about the Pacers’ only ESPN game last season is true, but he didn’t have to verify it because Haliburton took notes. Haliburton, whose three seasons were played on losing teams in smaller markets in Sacramento and Indiana, remained somewhat hidden from the league’s national audience.
“You have to win to get on TV and that’s what we have to do,” Haliburton said. “It won’t change either. If we win at Indiana, we get three national games.”
Haliburton says all this with a smile. He’s used to it; It was the story of his basketball life. As a child, he was overlooked compared to players from Milwaukee and Chicago because he was from Oshkosh, Wisconsin. He committed to Iowa State in 2017, his only high-major offer before his senior season of high school.
He slipped to 12th place in the 2020 NBA draft, well below many predictions because teams were put off by his slight build or clumsy jump shot. The Sacramento Kingsthe team that drafted him traded him after one year.
Haliburton’s father, John, a proud resident of Oshkosh and a longtime basketball umpire, has told him his whole life that if he kept working, he would eventually find anything he wanted.
TNT found him, as did Team USA, which called him up to the roster days after signing a maximum contract extension with the Pacers that could be worth more than $260 million with incentives.
Everything worked out. Before the team began practicing and playing together, coach Steve Kerr named the point guard Jalen Brunson as one of the team leaders, and he quickly secured the starting spot. But guess what? Haliburton’s outstanding play off the bench has earned him more playing time and more responsibility.
Along with Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin ReavesHaliburton have played a pivotal role in their last three victories – including beating Germany at a show in Abu Dhabi, which is more impressive as the Germans also advance to the second round of the World Cup.
Haliburton is 9 of 13 shooting, 5 of 9 on 3-pointers and has five steals in the last three group stage games while running the offense effectively and unselfishly.
“He’s like a quarterback who finds five different receivers and then when there’s no pass rush, he just lines up his set shot and knocks it down,” Kerr said. “He’s really a unique player and a beautiful player to watch and obviously very effective.”
Haliburton expects that even if he plays for Team USA, he will continue to be overlooked.
“This is my basketball life,” he said. “That’s fine, it’s more fun this way.”