But it was what the 6-foot-8 forward who grew up in Baltimore did after the game that was even more important.
Gay returned to the court to give two pairs of his game-worn Puma sneakers to two breast cancer survivors who attended the game, according to Jabari Young of The Athletic. Gay autographed the sneakers and took photos with the women.
The former Archbishop Spalding standout is known for giving back, especially in Baltimore.
Two summers ago he started the Rudy Gay Flight 22 Classic, a high school boys basketball tournament that takes place in Baltimore and provides a showcase for high school players and raises money for his Flight 22 Foundation.
The mission of Gay’s foundation is to provide disadvantaged youth with access to resources and opportunities to increase their confidence and leadership skills to successfully compete in the 21st century workforce.
It was announced this summer that the foundation will provide students at 22 schools in Baltimore with entrepreneurship education using a digital platform powered by EVERFI, a leading education technology innovator.
Gay, 32, was The Baltimore Sun’s Co-Player of the Year as a senior in 2003-04. He played two seasons at Eastern Tech and two at Spalding before starring at the University of Connecticut for two years.
He’s in his 13th NBA season and has played the last two with the San Antonio Spurs. Gay was with the Memphis Grizzlies his first six seasons and has also played with the Sacramento Kings and Toronto Raptors.
In Memphis he was a longtime Hoops for St. Jude’s ambassador, raising money and visiting patients at the children’s hospital.
In addition to holding the basketball tournament the last two summers in Baltimore, he’s helped build playgrounds throughout the city and partnered with Target to treat low-income families to gifts at Christmas.