The other night, I was privileged enough to attend my first live NBA Draft. Taking a Bill Simmons approach to the experience, I decided to document my thoughts. I'm gonna keep it under 17,000 words though.
4:47 pm - All aboard the train to New York Penn Station. Air-conditioned -- beautiful. I was worried I'd be sweating to death in my Dockers and button-down. I had been advised to dress nice, against my wishes, in case my girlfriend's aunt could take us into some VIP action.
5:15 pm - I realize I'm holding the smallest notebook in the world. Keeping it under 17,000 words shouldn't be a problem.
5:16 pm - I realize I brought a notebook to the NBA Draft. Not exactly one of my "cooler" moments.
6:01 pm - Sat down to a lovely dinner at Nick & Stef's Steakhouse outside the garden. Filet - quite good. Caesar salad - average. Saw ESPN's very own, Chris Broussard in a private room interviewing somebody. It bothers me I have no idea who it was. It was here, I also learned from a drunk woman that she thought Michael Jackson might be dead. I thought she was two apple martinis past her limit, but it sadly turned out she was right.
6:37 pm - I see Anthony Mason signing autographs outside the stadium. This is going to be a pretty cool night.
6:43 pm - Good ole' Craig Sager walks right by me. He's rocking an outrageous orange suit. The man knows how to stand out in a group of thousands.
6:45 pm - VIP action turns out to be the second to last row on the left side. The side Stuart Scott and the gang were reporting on. The side with the giant cameras capturing Scott and the gang, obstructing my view of the stage.
7:33 pm - Draft time. After David Stern announced that the Clippers had five minutes on the clock I was expecting him to immediately turn around upon entering his door to announce that the Clippers had selected Blake Griffin. I guess the Clippers wanted to wait the full five minutes for dramatic effect.
7:39 pm - "With the first selection in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers select... Blake Griffin". Shocking.
7:40 pm - I notice everyone in the section next to me is leaning over the railing leading to the nearest Exit. Why would they do this? They seem loyal to the Draft. Could the players be coming this way?
7:46 pm - I thought they only had five minutes to make a pick. Hasheem Thabeet. He's even taller in person.
7:47 pm - From this point on, I become increasingly nervous David Stern is going to say Stephen Curry before the Knicks are on the clock.
7:49 pm - Suddenly there's quite a commotion to my left. As I glance over, I see Blake Griffin walking up the aisle towards our back corner. I knew those kids were leaning over the railing for a reason! Fortunately for me, I had an aisle seat right next to the railing. Unfortunately for me, I was still in the second to last row. As Griffin made his way through the exit trail below us, I took a quick picture of the security guards in front of him and reached as far as I could over the railing for a high five. Let's start the DAP count. I was on the left, at the highest point above the walkway to the exit, but I was thinking, "Ya know, I'm 6'2. I could pull this off." Sadly for me, the players exit out the right door into the hallway. So the guy before me was basically the last DAP recipient before the players avoid the people on the left (me), DAP the last guy on the right (the guy across from me), and make way to the interview rooms for the next two hours. DAP count: 0.
7:52 pm - Anyone but Curry. Anyone but Curry. James Harden. Yes!!! I don't think Oklahoma City could have picked anyone better from the perspective of a Knicks fan.
7:53 pm - Did I just admit I was a Knicks fan?
7:57 pm - Please don't be Curry. Please don't be Curry. Tyreke Evans. This might just happen!
7:59 pm - Focused too much on taking a blurry picture of Thabeet. Didn't spend enough time trying to get some DAP from the tall man. He's 7'3". What was I thinking? That may have been my only chance. DAP count: 0.
8:03 pm - The T-Wolves take Ricky Rubio. We're getting so close here.
[Let me take the time to say that I think Ricky Rubio is highly-overrated. He averaged 4 points and 3 assists in the Olympics. Why do stats like that in Europe make you a lottery pick? I will never understand that.]
8:10 pm - As long as the T-Wolves don't take Flynn or Curry, I'm satisfied. And why would they? They already have a point guard and they need size. Their starting power forward last season was an undrafted Free Agent out of Providence. Jonny Flynn. You selfish bastards! The Knicks are screwed.
8:15 pm - Agony is about to strike. There's no escaping it. But I can still hope. Stephen Curry. Ah, it sucks to be a Knicks fan again. Talk about sucking the life out of Madison Square Garden.
8:21 pm - Alright. Surprise me with something. Anyone but Jrue Holiday or Jordan Hill. Jordan Hill. That's just not fair. I think it's time I officially put the Hornets ahead of the Knicks as my favorite team. Ehh, I guess I'll wait until the Knicks manage to blow signing anyone significant from the loaded free agent class of 2010.
8:31 pm - Jordan Hill gets a welcome "wish you were Stephen Curry" from our section, as he extends my DAP Count to zero. It's gonna be a rough few years Hill.
I spent the next 30 minutes reflecting on the fact that the Knicks had put me through a miserable season just so, come draft time, they could get a guy like Jordan Hill. Thanks guys.
9:02 pm - Austin Daye goes to the Pistons. At this point I had moseyed my way down a few steps, and was ready to be denied in my quest for DAP once again. Now I wasn't quite sure who Austin Daye was, but I quickly became a fan when my outstretched arms grazed his fingertips as he walked down our aisle. DAP count: 1!
9:02 pm - I realize Austin Daye is probably the last player at the draft, and that my DAP count may very well be over already.
9:19 pm - Oh man. Here we go again. The T-Wolves. Why don't you go for another point guard guys? Ty Lawson is still available. Ty Lawson. Now that's just ridiculous. This is sabotage.
9:45 pm - Darren Collison gets drafted by my future favorite team, the Hornets. And he's here! Easy DAP.
9:55 pm - Now that I have my prime DAP spot, I easily get a solid high five from Collison. It's amazing how good it feels to get DAPped by a player you're not even that big a fan of. DAP count: 2. Hey, I wonder when the players will be returning from their interviews to go see their families again? Maybe they'll come back this way?
10:00 pm - Three minutes after I left my DAP spot to have a seat, Hasheem Thabeet comes right past my spot, returning from an interview. Talk about bad timing. He gave the only kid there an emphatic high-five. That could've been my DAP.
10:01 pm - I'm ready to wait here all night for some DAP.
10:02 pm - Okay, maybe just until my train.
10:04 pm - Rodrigue Beaubois DAP. I'm just as unsure as you are.
10:15 pm - The Knicks have made a trade. Come on Curry, Flynn, heck I'll take Rubio. Quentin Richardson for Darko Milicic. This has to be a nightmare. Wasn't he the guy that helped Lebron off the stage and helped Carmelo onto the stage a few years ago at the draft? It's only fitting he's a Knick on this night.
10:17 pm - At this point, my DAP count officially begins. Starting with Tyreke Evans.
10:17 pm - After giving up cash considerations to the Lakers, the Knicks were ready to make their second pick of the first round. I was expecting them to trade it away for the rights to Ronaldo Balkman after everything else they had screwed up on this lovely evening. But they took Toney Douglas. Not bad. Not bad. Could've been worse.
10:22 pm - Jonny Flynn DAP.
10:26 pm - Ricky Rubio.
10:28 pm - Jrue Holiday.
10:30 pm - DeMar DeRozan
10:40 pm - The #1 pick himself, Blake Griffin, walks through the door. As he walks down the aisle he gives me a look that says, "Yeah, I'm gonna give you some DAP". We both knew exactly what was up. Griffin emphatically slapped my hand, accepted my congratulations, and I'm assuming at that point knew, it was time to embark on his NBA career.
10:45 pm - I might as well stick around five more minutes for Curry, since my train isn't until 11:12. Why not?
10:48 pm - The doors open, and out comes Curry. The should've been New York Knick himself. Curry DAPs me. I ask if there was any chance he could take a quick picture with me. He tells me he can't and that he's sorry. I accept his apology, and with that, my first NBA Draft experience comes to a close.
10:51 pm - One last look at the stage as I walk towards the exit. DAP count: 10.
Maybe next year New York.
Image taken from espn.com