FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Fort Wayne native Reggie Hearn has joined an illustrious list of American basketball players, being named USA Basketball's Male Athlete of the Year.
Hearn earned the honor while playing his second season with the U.S. men's basketball World Cup Qualifying team, which has games scheduled throughout November and December.
"It was quite an honor," Hearn says in a video announcement from USA Basketball. "All the names that have won it before are the type of names you would see in the Hall of Fame."
Hearn currently plays for the Stockton Kings of the NBA G-League. He's spent time with Reno and Grand Rapids.
His childhood dream of playing in the NBA became a reality Feb. 5, when Hearn checked into the Detroit Pistons’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers.
“It wasn’t something that really sunk in until after the game,” Hearn remembers. “Like, ‘I actually just played in an NBA game. I actually wore an NBA uniform.’”
Hearn, 27, scored first ever NBA shot, a 3-pointer over fellow Fort Wayne basketball standout Caleb Swanigan. After Detroit’s win that night, Hearn was given the game ball by his new teammates.
“I sent it home to mom,” Hearn says of his special keepsake. “Have her do whatever she wants to do with it—box it up or frame it.”
Hearn’s journey to the NBA is one of determination that dating back to growing up in the Summit City. Hearn was standout at Snider High School, leading the Panthers to their lone 4A state finals appearance in 2009. Hearn won the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award as a senior. He would walk on the Northwestern University basketball team as a freshman, and moved to scholarship as a junior. In 4 seasons with the Wildcats, he averaged 7.1 points and 2.8 rebounds and earned Academic All-Big Ten Conference honors.
Since then, Hearn has tried out for various NBA Summer League teams before landing in the G-League, but it was a stint with the Team USA’s gold medal-winning FIBA AmeriCup team that would catapult Hearn’s stock to NBA scouts.
“I feel like Coach Jeff [Van Gundy] and I bonded,” Hearn tells ParkviewSportsMedicine.com of his Team USA coach. “From then on out, he started advocating me to NBA teams.”
While playing with Grand Rapids, the Pistons offered Hearn a 2-way contract. After a G-League game in Toronto, Hearn flew to Detroit on Jan. 15 to sign the deal that allots up to 45 days with the Pistons.
Hearn frequently returns to Fort Wayne working out on the basketball courts at the SportONE/Parkview Fieldhouse, and staying in top form with the help of Parkview Athletic Rehabilitation.
“Parkview Sports Medicine, especially since I’ve been a pro, has been a place where my game has really been able to develop.”
Hearn's NBA career to date includes appearing in 3 games, all with Detroit in 2018.