I searched (unsuccessfully) for an agent, went to pre-draft camp (and all I got was a t-shirt), and worked out privately for the Suns’ brass. And now we’ll see if all the hard work and preparation will be worth it.Herewith, my draft night diary, so you can share in all the joy, tears and anticipation of my bright athletic future.
All times Pacific.
2:30 PM: The first thing you have to do, if you’re an NBA draft prospect and you expected to be selected, is make sure you’re wearing your finest, flashiest suit. You want to announce to the world, here I am, ready to ruin your retinas and proud of it! Remember Joakim Noah’s duds last year? I found them a bit restrained. So I go to my local clothier (I won’t give them free promotion, but let’s just say their name rhymes with “Shmoss Dress For Less”) and head for the suit department. I ask the experienced salesperson on duty (he’s been working there since high school got out a few weeks ago) for his finest, single-breasted, purple and orange ensemble. “I’m going to be drafted by the Suns,” I tell him proudly. Not surprisingly, they have just such a suit. Unfortunately, it’s wool, and it’s eighty degrees in Los Angeles today. Double-unfortunately, the words “Harvey’s Singing Telegrams” are stitched across the back of the jacket. But the suit calls to me like…like…like a suit that’s calling to me. I plunk down my $19.99 and head into the sunshine. I’m sweating before I get to the car.
3:00 PM:� Not having been invited to the NBA draft itself in New York (I’m assuming the NBA wants to cut down on plane tickets with the ongoing fuel crisis and I support that), I’ve planned a massive draft party at my apartment, so I need supplies. I head for the nearest store for fine food and drink (I won’t give them free promotion, but their name rhymes with “Shmeven-Eleven”). In honor of the Suns’ old home, I buy fifty-three cans of those potato chips that resemble the roof of Veterans’ Memorial Coliseum (the chips rhyme with “Shmingles”) and, because I’m a gracious host and I want to make sure my guests have something they can enjoy, too, I get a can of Shmingles that are sour-cream-and-onion flavored. Good news: Since putting on the new suit, I seem to have lost four pounds.
3:30 PM: Home at last. I make sure that all of the phones I have installed (thirteen separate lines) are working. I check to make sure my Internet connection is sound, in case lightning strikes all the cell towers in America and my new phones cease functioning. I leave my mailbox open. I position a crystal ball on my coffee table in case none of the above methods of communication work and the Suns try to contact me via the spirit realm. I am not missing this call!
4:30 PM: The draft has started, but none of my guests have arrived. I chalk that up to LA traffic. I see the Bulls have selected Derrick Rose. Good pick, and I’m relieved. I can cross off the list one team that might have drafted me ahead of the Suns. Good thing I kind of dogged it in workouts so I could slip down the draft boards a little (don’t tell the Bulls).
5:14 PM: I see former Suns Coach Mike D’Antoni has drafted Danilo Gallinari for his new team, the New York Knicks. I’m happy for him. Not only do I think Gallinari will be a pretty good player, he’ll give Coach Mike someone to talk to in Italian when the New York press gets critical.
5:17 PM: The Clippers just made their pick at number 7, and it wasn’t me. I’m almost halfway home to the Suns at number 15, baby! Hey, is it warm in here, or is it me?
5:18 PM: I’m out of Shmingles.
5:47 PM: Jason Thompson goes to the Kings. Two more picks, then I’m expecting a phone to ring.Meanwhile, none of my guests have arrived. Maybe they’re planning a surprise ambush for the moment after I get drafted by Phoenix. That’s cool. I can play along.
5:59 PM: The Suns are on the clock! The Suns are on the clock!
What’s Lopez so angry about? He got picked before Beechen!
(David Gonzales/Stanford Athletics)
6:01 PM: The Suns are off the clock. They’ve selected Robin Lopez, a seven-foot center out of Stanford. And not me. I realize that, while I installed thirteen new phone lines, I never gave the Suns my numbers.Further, my e-mail address has been shut down for spam offenses, my regular mail has already come today, and the spirit world is closed on Thursdays. Drat. I guess the Suns decided to take the next best available comic book fan – who happens to be a very good defensive big man, something the Suns really need. I assume the Suns will be hoping and praying I’m still on the board when their next pick comes around at number 48.
6:09 PM: Since I have a while until the Suns are up again, I decide to remove my purple wool suit coat so that I might better enjoy the atmosphere of my un-airconditioned apartment. I wring the sweat trapped in my jacket out into the tub, which overflows. Once I’m drafted, I’ll get that drain fixed.
6:12 PM: I’ve decided to spend my time until the Suns’ second pick calling the GMs of every other NBA team and dissing myself so that they won’t take me prior to then. I’ve called two so far, and they’ve both agreed with every criticism I spoke about myself. Either I’m doing a really good job convincing them, or I overestimated my value.
6:41 PM: So far, I’ve been assured by every GM I’ve contacted that they don’t plan to take me in the draft. One helpfully suggested I play in Europe for a few years to improve my skills. Actually, the words he used were, “Go away,” but I knew what he meant.
6:45 PM: I was sure I’d go before the guy the Jazz have just picked with their first round selection. “Kosta Koufos?!” I shout in disbelief. “Bless you!” shouts everyone in my apartment building.
7:02 PM: A wave of despair washes over me. Well, it was either a wave of despair or the 53 cans of Shmingles.
7:16� PM: Inspiration strikes! I call the Suns’ offices, and though I’m almost instantly mysteriously disconnected, I don’t hang up my phone, thus ensuring the line between my apartment and the Suns offices will stay open. At least, I think that’s how it worked in that movie I saw.
8:03 PM: Deciding that any guests who are more than four hours late don’t deserve much hospitality, I eat the sour-cream-and-onion Shmingles. My suit doesn’t feel like it fits very well anymore.
8:21 PM: My mother calls and asks me where the Army is going to be stationing me. I remind her it’s not that kind of draft.
8:45 PM: The Suns have selected Malik Hairston with their second round pick. I can’t be too upset.Hairston’s a versatile wing who can help the team. I look around for the receipt for my suit.
9:05 PM: The draft is over, and I haven’t been selected. By anyone. It’s been a long journey that’s brought me back where I started – to my couch. But then…one of my phones rings. I’m not sure which one, however, so I miss the call. But it rings again, and this time I nab it. It’s my friend Dave. He’s putting together a team for a community rec league, and wants to know if I want to play backup point guard (“In case someone gets hit by a meteor.”). My mind whirls. A few good games, I tell myself, and maybe I can send some video to the Suns before the pro summer leagues and earn an invitation as a free agent! I tell Dave yes, and decide to hang on to my suit after all (never mind that I can’t find the receipt).
The dream lives on…