Behind the scenes at the NBA draft
1. The first thing I noticed upon walking into the Garden at 6:30 p.m. was the proposed seating arrangement pictured at right: Louisville's
2. The best thing heard out of the mouth of always-quotable former Louisville star
"You're nervous? Why are you nervous, when you've been making money since you were 11?"
3. The second-best T-Will line of the evening:
To an NBA employee in a hallway near the press conference area, after she asked if he was happy about being picked by the Nets:
"Of course. It's a great market."
4. I found two bizarre press releases sitting on a table in the press room early in the evening. The first was a plain sheet with the header "
In non-press-release terms, what that meant was that they were freaked out about the possibility Jennings would fall into the 20s and be the last man in the green room, so they pulled the weak move of hiding out in a suite at the draft hotel (the Westin Times Square). This was a Duffy-driven decision, but Jennings admitted to SI.com that family history played a role in it, too: He didn't want a repeat of what happened to his cousin,
Soon after he was taken by the Bucks with the 10th pick, Jennings, his mom, brother, cousin and Duffy all jumped in a car and high-tailed it over to MSG. Jennings was handed a Bucks hat on his way in the door, and
5. The second peculiar press release -- headlined "OH, BROTHER!" -- had been
This was a presumptuous move by the 'Trotters, who clearly didn't expect Taylor to be selected with the No. 48 pick by the Suns. He had already left the building by the time he was picked, but I'm guessing that he'll choose the NBA Summer League over meeting
(U.S. soccer goalkeeper
6. The NBA issued an edict before the draft for teams not to spoil draft picks by posting them on Twitter in advance of podium announcements from
7. I left my newly created Twitter account (@lukewinn) open all day and collected a greatest hits list from the army of ballers/media folks I'm following. Here goes:
@BiGG8ME23: Bigass Blake Griffin is in the bathroom tryna sneak a doo doo in...
St. Mary's guard (and eventual Blazers draftee)
@Patty_Mills: Just had a meat pie with the family in time square!!!
James Morgan again, from the luncheon:
@BiGG8ME23: David stern dont have a neck
T-Will, to fellow Rainier Beach (Seattle) alum
@TheRealTWill: @nate_robinson most def come by the Levi suit bro maddddddd gear
@langwhitaker: Got stuck behind
Calipari (unintentionally?) slighting ex-Memphis Tiger
@UKCoachCalipari: At the NBA draft. Good luck 2
@SheldenWilliams why did CNN say self proclaim king of rock? if that isn't hating i don't know what is
@devin34 just got home.this probably the roughest day of my life............carter got traded.................are you serious!!!!!
Former Michigan dunkmaster
@Airgeorgia: If I was only a few years younger this draft weak...
@kevin_love what are we doing????????????????? omg we better trade....what are we doing??????????? i dont even know
Love, reacting to Jennings' draft-crashing move:
@kevin_love: brandon jennings is gonna be late to his own funeral
@DarrenRovell1 ... Brandon Jennings hasn't showed for his own Under Armour party yet.
Knicks big man
@eddycurry: i know its late but i slept thru the draft i do it every year. i sleep thru it just in case i get moved. ill know when i get up
8. My wanderings at one point took me out near the corner of 31st Street and 8th Avenue, where a small crew of autograph hounds were hoping to catch draftees on their way out of MSG. Aside from confusing a random guy in a T'wolves draft hat for Jonny Flynn (and briefly surrounding the guy), the hounds were cool.
10. The last draftee in the green room was UCLA's
Mills, meanwhile, only got a quick ESPN radio spot (no TV), and then walked upstairs through empty hallways that, a few hours earlier, had been flooded with teenagers shouting players' names and asking for autographs. He walked through a press workroom with a few stragglers still hunched over laptops, then past a darkened press-conference area that was already being disassembled. A short interview with
For a guy who had declared early for the draft and had high expectations, Mills remained unfathomably upbeat about the whole thing: Right after his name was called, he stopped to high-five a bunch of fans who'd taken up his cause in the crowd, and when I asked him if he was upset, he said, genuinely, "This was still a special experience for me and my family; you don't get to come to New York, or Madison Square Garden, every day. Obviously, you want to go in the first round, but this is still a great opportunity, and that's all I can ask for. ... I don't have any regrets."
Where that opportunity will be, is still a question mark, since Blazers GM
11. For a player who was visibly
"officially in [f---] it mode. horrible day."