Captain’s log, May 20th 7:17 a.m. Phoenix time…
Sorry about that, guess I still have Star Trek: Into Darkness still on my mind. And apparently so does the rest of North America, as the movie brought in more than $84 million over the weekend.
We’re not here to talk about movies, though. We’re here to talk about young men who could make box office millions themselves over the next several years in the NBA. During the next two days this will be your ticket to an inside look at what it’s like to travel to the NBA Draft Lottery in New York City. Call it a “humble brag,” if you must, but I am lucky enough to be one of the few members of the Phoenix Suns’ organization to make the trip. I thought it’d only be fair to share my journey with you. Here is the first installment.
Fate is a funny thing. That is, if you believe in it. It is an ideology that is based on the concept that you have little to no control over the outcome of your own life. For me, I don’t feel that any more than when I’m 30,000 feet above the ground in a metal tube like I am right now, as I head to the Big Apple.
It’s also an idea that is at the core of the NBA Draft Lottery — that is unless you’re like the guy on the street corner screaming about this or that and believe in league-wide conspiracy theories. The destiny of a group of franchises rests in the hands of a bunch of white plastic ping pong balls that provide a seemingly random four-digit number.
Get the right combination and your team’s fortunes can turn around faster than Robert Downey Jr.’s career. Come up short, and you could be left at the drawing board heading into the draft.
On this trip, however, I’ve decided not to leave things to fate. In an effort to stack the deck in the Suns’ favor, I brought along some lucky charms suggested by fans. Yes, I realize these items probably have about as much chance of working as the seat I’m sitting on in this plane does of acting as a flotation device in the case of an emergency water landing (which is just the nice way of saying a crash), but that won’t stop me from being optimistic.
With the percentages just as likely that the team moves down from its No. 4 pre-lottery slot as it does up, it can’t hurt to provide a little help regardless of how improbable it is. With me, I brought an autographed Cotton Fitzsimmons ticket stub I’ve had since I was a kid. If the Irish are lucky, why not have something that connects this draft lottery to the most famous Irishman in franchise history (sorry Shaquille O’Neal, you didn’t make the cut).
One item isn’t enough, though. We’re trying to combat a 44-year-old streak of no luck (I refuse to call it bad, because it’s been such a fun ride). With that in mind, I decided to go back to the source of the issue in many fans’ minds. The last time the Suns had a legitimate chance at the No. 1 pick: the 1969 coin toss. The fans told the team to call heads, and when that silver Kennedy half-dollar was flipped, it came up tails and Lew Alcindor went to Milwaukee. The Suns have never had the first pick since.
Thanks to a commenter on my blog post last week, I purchased a double-sided Kennedy half-dollar to bring with me. Both sides? Heads of course. If only it had been used on that fateful day in 1969, there might be a championship banner hanging from the rafters in Phoenix.
Both items will be tucked securely in my suit pocket as I sit in the ABC Times Square studios to watch the drama unfold Tuesday night. Maybe they won’t change whatever the fate of the Suns’ pick is; much like nothing myself or my fellow passengers do can change anything about our flight. But in either situation, it can’t hurt to have a little faith. Oh, and a little luck never hurt anyone either.