It’s been a long time since Victor Oladipo checked into a game at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The home of the Pacers didn’t even have its current sponsor at the time.
The Miami Heat shooting guard hasn’t been back in action on his old home floor since being a part of a multi-team deal that sent him to Houston in January 2021. Oladipo was dealt just a few weeks after recovering from a knee injury that ended his season a year prior.
“It definitely brings some nostalgia, you know, just walking into the building,” Oladipo said. “But I’m focused on the good energy. And I let the bad energy go a long time ago, in terms of my injury and everything.”
“It just shows you how much he had to go through, the fact that he hasn’t been available and able to play back here,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said. “He has a great feeling about the fanbase and the organization here. He had some great years here. And we’re just excited that he’s back on the floor.”
Oladipo has continued to battle injuries since being traded by the Pacers. Over the last three seasons, he’s only played in 44 total games. The former IU Hoosier is averaging 8.7 points per game in his three appearances with the Heat so far this season.
“The way you build your character and who you are as a person is how you handle those moments. And I’ve always been an optimist,” Oladipo said. “Even though what happened to me was catastrophic, it doesn’t mean that I can’t still be happy and I can’t still come back from it and be my best self.”
Oladipo and the Heat start a four-game road trip on Monday night when they visit the Pacers. At some point during the game, Indiana will honor their former shooting guard. Tip-off at Gainbridge Fieldhouse is at 7:00 p.m. on Monday night.