Social Studies Was Fun
If you haven't already, read Shoals's analysis of the 2009 Draft portraits.
Over the last three days, I've spent each morning watching old drafts on NBA TV. Please enjoy these remembrances, observations, and lost moments from years past:
- Bob Neal, in 1991: "If Bill Walton wrote the book on big-men passing, Luc Longley probably read it." Unfortunately, he relied on Cliff's Notes for the rest of the coursework in Intro to Walton Studies.
- Hubie Brown, in the same year: "... Atlanta, with their small forwards and their need for a shooter." It's nice to know that, no matter how many things change in the league, certain teams remain as dependable as ever.
- Brian Williams/Bison Dele's dad was in The Platters. Not an original member, but still important.
- It's widely known that Greg Anthony is a conservative (though he endorsed Obama), but did you know that he was vice chairman of the Nevada Young Republicans while at UNLV? How does this affect what we know about the Runnin' Rebels reputation, both on-court and off?
- The 1992 Draft opened with extended Shaq highlights set to "Love Shack," a pairing that unfortunately never caught on. Also, there was apparently talk of Shaq not signing and sitting out a year, which, however far-fetched it seems now, says something about his personality. He never denied the possibility in his interview with Sager.
- If you want evidence that, for all their humor, these drafts are incredibly painful to watch, try listening to four people talk for three minutes about Reggie Lewis's health just a year before he died.
- The most important thing I learned this week: in the early 90s, they played "Thus Spake Zarathustra" after approximately half of the draft picks.
- JR Rider: "Other than that, I'm a perfect man in society."
- Jalen Rose carried a 3.4 GPA at Michigan. And remember, he was the only one involved in the Michigan scandal who wasn't listed as having received payments. We had a moral stalwart in our midst and didn't even know it.
- For a Warriors fan, watching them take Adonal Foyle over McGrady is very depressing. But not as depressing as learning that Todd Fuller's strength was "free-throw shooting." If you're curious, he shot 67% from the line in his career.
- Kobe filmed a short piece giving T-Mac advice on how to adjust to the NBA. If you removed the names, you would think it'd been filmed this season.
- The commentators couldn't even get excited about the 2000 Draft. Incidentally, Rick Majerus was way better on these broadcasts than I remember.
- In 2002, Nikoloz Tskitishvili was asked about his ballet training. His response: "It's more national folk dance. In Georgia, we dance with knives and bullets in our inside pockets."
- Kenny Smith thinks Brazilians speak Spanish.
- If you can, try to remember that Kiki Vandeweghe addressed Nuggets season ticket-holders in a ski lodge, telling them that Skita, Nene, Camby, and Mark Jackson were going to be the foundation of their team for years to come. Except he paused for applause after every name, as if he were an emcee introducing a performer by listing well-known accomplishments. All the while, men lurked in the background, half-hiding behind walls. Someone get this on YouTube!
- Chris Wilcox went right before Amar'e, but that's not the weird part: Wilcox was supposed to be what Amar'e became, and STAT was going to be "another Ben Wallace." There has never been a less accurate comparison of styles.
- A viewer email asked Barkley how the language barrier would affect Yao Ming. Why would you ever ask Barkley that question?
- After every pick in every draft, without fail, Hubie Brown explained the pick in terms of the team's summer personnel decisions. Sometimes this worked, but it also produced wondrous moments, like when he said the Sixers took Jiri Welsch because Corie Blount was a free agent.