The Hamilton Tiger-Cats hosted a notable fan at field level on Friday night for the Battle of Ontario.
The team revealed on Twitter following the final whistle that Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was in attendance at Tim Hortons Field to cheer on his hometown team. Raised in Hamilton, the Canadian NBA star looked to be enjoying the classic CFL action while sporting a vintage Ticats shirt.
— UNINTERRUPTED Canada 🇨🇦 (@UNCanada) August 13, 2022
The Kentucky product was a first-round selection, eleventh overall, by the Charlotte Hornets in the 2018 NBA Draft. He was traded the same day to the Los Angeles Clippers, with whom Gilgeous-Alexander was selected second-team NBA All-Rookie.
The budding Canadian was traded to Oklahoma City in 2019 as part of a massive package for all-star Paul George. Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 24.5 points, 5.9 assists and five rebounds in 56 games last season. He signed a five-year extension valued at $172 million in August of 2021, with the potential to make $207 million if he is ever selected to the All-NBA team.
Joining Gilgeous-Alexander on the sidelines were a pair of Thunder teammates, Luguentz Dort and Aaron Wiggins.
Hailing from Montreal, Dort went undrafted out of Arizona State in the 2019 NBA Draft but has since established himself as a valuable contributor for the Thunder. He averaged 17.2 points per game in 51 contests last year, cashing in on a five-year, $87.5 million extension in July.
A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Wiggins has turned into an effective role player since being drafted in the second round of the 2021 NBA Draft. He was the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year during his time at Maryland.
The celebrity presence seems to have only helped the Ticats, as they rallied for a 34-27 victory over the rival Toronto Argonauts with Gilgeous-Alexander watching on.