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Observations From Some Famous Draft Picks

Like a lot of people before the draft, I've been watching some old draft selections on YouTube and have seen and heard plenty of telling, funny, or simply interesting things. Here are some of those observations.


Kobe Bryant 

1996, #13, Charlotte Hornets

  • A guy in the audience who’s dressed like the Charlotte version of Spike Lee is obviously very happy about the pick. Unfortunately for that fan, Bryant was traded to the Lakers for Vlade Divac two weeks later. Divac was a year or two past his prime at that point and played on Charlotte for only two years. I feel really bad for that lone Hornets fan in retrospect.
  • TNT has to label Pamela Bryant as his mother so the viewers don’t think she’s his girlfriend – she looks that good for her age.



Shaquille O’Neal 

1992, #1, Orlando Magic

  • He’s already hamming it up with everyone and playing to the crowd, shaking one fan’s hand on the one up to the stage. Shaq just seems to know where the cameras are and even made a “Who, me, #1?” joke.
  • Shaq is booed by the crowd for saying nice things about Christian Laettner (“he is a great player”) after being asked about not making the Dream Team.



Kevin Garnett 

1995, #5, Minnesota Timberwolves

  • The announcers make a big deal about him being the fifth straight early-entrant player (non-college senior) selected at the top of the draft.
  • KG had a triple-double in one quarter in high school.
  • High school stats: 25.2 ppg, 17.9 rpg, 6.7 apg, 6.5 bpg
  • When asked about his qualities that will be seen right away, he predicts accurately “I’m a person and a player who comes out and plays hard every night, one thousand percent. Teamwork, you’re going to see some passion (passing?). I’m a team player…I just try to go in there and do my best and leave the game saying that I gave it my all.”
  • Garnett says he plans on getting his degree and expands on its importance; to my knowledge, this still hasn't happened.



Ron Artest 

1999, #16, Chicago Bulls

  • There’s so much noise in the crowd following the disappointment of New York taking Frederic Weis over hometown favorite Artest at the #15 spot, David Stern actually checks his mike and gives a “why the hell isn’t everyone listening to me?” face before restarting the announcement.
  • Artest appears to be talking crap to the guy giving him his Bulls hat, randomly tells the camera that someone at his family’s table will be a football player, does lots of pointing all over the place, and has to be actively ushered/whisked to the stage because he stops to shake more hands and generally doesn’t understand that he’s supposed to walk to the stage without running his mouth non-stop. Artest gets on stage and is still pointing out everyone in the crowd who’s yelling for him, almost completely ignoring David Stern, even while shaking his hand. Stern tries to grab his arm and get him to face the cameras. Who would have thought he’d turn out to be crazy?



John Stockton 

1984, #16, Utah Jazz

  • The crowd boos when Stern calls his name.
  • One announcer says Stockton ranked fifth of the small guards in the draft, behind Alvin Robertson (#7), Leon Wood (#10), Jay Humphries(#13), “and Danny Young who has not been picked yet” (#39). 
  • The other says “This young man is a perfect point guard. He’s unselfish, hits the player in the right place at the right time.” I'll go with announcer #2 for legitimate insight.



Scottie Pippen 

1987, #5, Seattle Supersonics

  • Announced as Scott Pippen. 
  • David Stern has the little boy haircut Jerry got in an episode of Seinfeld.
  • The crowd murmurs, to put in nicely. 
  • His file photo is black and white. 
  • Pippen doesn’t smile at any point. 
  • Because of the talent already on Seattle, it’s announced that “he’ll have a difficult time finding some playing time.”



Steve Nash 

1996, #15, Phoenix Suns

  • TNT lists his weakness as “Too selective with shots.”
  • Nash thanks Santa Clara, St. Michael’s High School, and Arbutis Junior High.
  • John Nash, his dad, looks like a dead ringer for Wayne Grezky at 60.



Stephon Marbury 

1996, #4, Milwaukee Bucks

  • For 20 seconds after his name is called, the camera capturing his and his family’s reactions appears to be caught in a riot, shakily being knocked about, barely able to capture Marbury through arms and bodies blocking its view, and with the requisite yelling from his nearby mother. 
  • Marbury has the same “cut down the middle” hair cut as Ron Artest three years later. 
  • The announcers call his large group of family members The Traveling Marburies. If you don’t get the reference, this.
  • He is way emotional—lots of crying, the whole nine years—far more than I remember any other player being on draft night. He says this has been “20 long years” through sobs like he just got out of prison.
  • When asked to define what an NBA point guard is, he uses words and phrases like “leader,” “sacrifice,” and “do everything that it takes to win.” If only he had listened to himself.



Muggsy Bogues 

1987, #12, Washington Bullets

  • They talk to Red Aurbach for the first two minutes of this clip, and it’s good. He praises SanAn’s selection of David Robinson even though he’ll be away on his Navy commitment for two years. He’s surprised 5 of the first 7 picks are guards. If you look at the list, you’ll realize only 2 of them are really guards with a bunch of small forwards in there, and those two are Kevin Johnson and Kenny Smith – not too bad. One of those SF’s he’s calling a guard is Scottie Pippen. What Aurbach is most surprised about is Indiana’s pick of Reggie Miller considering they didn’t take Hoosier great Steve Alford. “He’s gonna have to be one super duper player,” says Aurbach, for Pacer fans to forget about Alford; I’m thinking most Indy fans are OK with how that went down.
  • The process of the team making their selection up to the point Stern reads it takes unnecessarily long. A woman who looks like Rhea Perlman in a hat walks it up to the stage and past Stern, hands it to one guy who looks at it and hands it back after barking something out, then she hands it to a guy sitting right in front of a waiting Stern, and then that guy quickly hands it over to Stern while saying something into his head mike.
  • It’s the same year as the Pippen pick, so Stern’s little boy haircut is there.
  • Stern looks legitimately shocked by the selection, making a quick but noticeable “hmmm, if that’s what you say” shrug/smirk at the 2:34 mark.
  • The crowd is loud and split by the pick as he’s called Tyrone Bogues for the last time ever.
  • Bogues is holding someone’s purse (European man bag?) while shaking people’s hands.
  • He is one of three players from his high school team, Dunbar High in Baltimore, taken in the first round (Reggie Williams at #4, Reggie Lewis at #22). 


Complete Behind the Basket Draft Coverage
Sorting Out All the College Players in the Draft
Sorting Out All the International Players in the Draft
Undervalued/Overvalued Draftees
5 Best NBA Drafts Ever
5 Worst NBA Drafts Ever
Adjustments to 2004-2008 Drafts
Draft Success of Every Lottery Team
Great Draft of 2012
Observations from Famous Draft Picks


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