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NBA Draft Telecast

June 27, 2003 Columns No Comments

Watching the 2003 Draft Telecast

by Zach Van Hart

Thursday night I had two choices – stay home and watch the NBA Draft, live at Madison Square Garden in New York, or go see Finding Nemo at the movie theater. Both were set to start at 7:30 p.m., with some previews before hand. I guess it’s obviously which choice I made.

The 30-minute predraft show provided as much drama as the entire NBA Finals, so right away I questioned my choice for the evening. Even Tom “comedic genius” Tolbert’s line about scouting embryos could not liven up the show. I started wondering about how the trailer for Bad Boys II compared to LeBron and company saying, “I am ready,” over and over.

Actually, the best part of the draft before it started was LeBron’s all-white suit. It was sweet. Not only do I want that suit, I think I want a LeBron jersey too. Why not? The kid is unreal and he actually sounds intelligent when he talks. He says his goal for the upcoming season is to make his team better. What’s not to like. Oh yeah, the Cavs selected him No. 1, in case you didn’t know.

Also no surprise, Darko Milicic went No. 2 to the Pistons. I’m wondering if the European tradition of the kisses on the check will ever take off in the U.S. Probably not; if we still cannot handle the metric system, I don’t see it happening.

Non-surprise No. 3 came as Carmelo Anthony went to the Denver Nuggets. But the best was seeing Carmelo’s mom’s reaction – she was so overcome with emotion she could not even respond to Stuart Scott’s questions. Then the viewers got to hear the first installment of Dicky V. for the evening. Talk about a 180 – no words to an avalanche of words.

The first time I didn’t know what would happen came around 7:45 p.m. and I wondered how many surprises I would have seen by now if I went to see Nemo instead. In place of fish, I witnessed Toronto select Chris Bosh, who appeared rather upbeat. I guess when you know you are going to be a multi-millionaire; you have reason to be a bit excited. Hmmm, I wonder if Nemo is excited right now?

I absolutely loved the Heat’s pick at No. 5, taking Dwyane Wade. I was actually surprised and very excited; after seeing Wade play in person a few times I know he is the real deal. And I also liked how during her interview, his wife’s nose was running. You can tell she is mom because she is not worried about that; she has a kid to worry about.

At No. 6 is Chris Kaman, playing the same role as Jim Carrey in Liar Liar. Why is Kaman a liar? Because he said he thinks he can definitely help the Clippers win next season. Are you serious, the Clippers win? Either he thinks he can lie like Carrey, or he is funny as Carrey. If it’s the first choice, I bet he would claim to have found Nemo even if he didn’t really too.

Then the picks started to get goofy. The Bulls chose Kirk Hinrich before T. J. Ford? Huh? Really? Just one question – why? And with Michelle Tafoya calling Jay Williams by his old first name, Jason, is it now official Williams’ first name is the speaker or writer’s choice? And that is by no means a knock on Williams, I hope he fully recovers and returns to basketball the same player as he was before his accident.

Man, popcorn sounds good right about now, especially some movie theater popcorn. And I really want to know if they found that fish. Back to the draft, the Knicks went with Michael Sweetney at No. 9. He also sounds like he has a good head on his shoulder. But he is playing in New York now, so that’ll change. Fast.

After Golden State’s pick, (not the Golden Warriors like David Stern almost said, can the team just change to the Oakland Warriors please), the comedic genius struck again. Tolbert said, and I quote, “I don’t know what the hell you are doing?” in reference to the Warriors’ pick. He is funnier than me. He should be commentating the draft by himself.

Nemo is almost over by now, but the draft is just getting started. So I could either be done watching a classic cinematic product, but instead I have plenty more to watch and even more Vitale to listen to. Actually, what I really want is to have the job of the guy who gives each pick their team’s hat. Seems pretty easy to me.

Speaking of Vitale, he finally lost it after the Warriors’ pick. Saying New York will regret picking Sweetney over Collison is nuts. Why is Dicky still talking? Then he says he likes that Tolbert said Golden State does not need Mickael Pietrus, so why did they take him. But he’s been saying the Pistons will regret not taking Carmelo even though they have Ben Wallace. Sorry for being so jumpy, just a little upset at missing the movie.

Memphis selected, for the time being, Marcus Banks at No. 13. So what are the odds of him making it in the NBA? (Get it? Odds, he played at UNLV, Vegas, gambling. Man, I apologize; I am just not funny anymore.)

Again, thank you Tom Tolbert for talking, this time on the question about Luke Ridnour and Ford’s size questions. Dicky V. seems to think Ford’s size is not a problem but Ridnour’s is, which makes no sense. I am going to start watching the NBA just to hear Tolbert talk. Well…

As the middle of the first round keeps rolling, I cannot help but feel bad for Maciej Lampe from Poland. He is the last one left in the very front section, dubbed the “green room.” He was projected middle of the first round and he is just sitting there, with a fresh black eye to boot. Also, Nemo is over. And I still want popcorn

As David West went No. 18 to New Orleans, Tolbert mentioned something about Phil Jackson and Red Auerbach having a baby together? Okay, that’s just nuts, even for me. Then Dicky V. says Troy Bell is a good choice for Memphis and he believes in Jerry West. Finally, something smart from the man. Maybe these two are switching roles on me? Okay, maybe not.

The night is slowing down, but there is an intriguing story building. That poor Poland kid still has not been picked. He is looking for someone or some team to find him. Then it hits me – he is Nemo! Maciej Lampe is Nemo; now the question is who will find him.

Then, like that lone ray of light breaking through a string of clouds appears Lampe’s hope – the New York Knicks. As the first round ends with Lampe still sitting in the green room, all alone, in a foreign country (just like Nemo), the Knicks get the first pick of the second round. Instantly, the Knicks fans start chanting, “We want Lampe, we want Lampe!” Suddenly, I find myself chanting too. (I want Lampe!) That’s when I decided to stop cheering.

Then it happens, as Lampe is announced as the Knicks’ selection and the crowd goes nuts. ‘Light the Lampe’ signs are shown. The crowd cheers, “Lampe! Lampe!” Fans scream into the camera, showing off Yankees’ hats, Knicks’ hats. It was a great moment for New York. All it needed was Frank Sinatra signing New York, New York to be complete.

And Lampe soaks it up. He embraces the overjoyed New York crowd, constantly pointing towards the hundreds still in attendance. He is obviously disappointed he slipped to the second round, but he is happy to be with the Knicks and is gracious for all the support the crowd provided for him. And I sit back and smile, for Nemo has been found!

Sitting with Tafoya, Lampe says, “Things work out for a reason” Maybe that’s why I spent three hours watching the NBA draft and not watching Nemo, because there is a reason for everything. Besides, I saw a real life version of Nemo, even better.

Well, that concludes my Thursday evening. Now it’s time to find something to do this weekend. Maybe I will go see a movie, I hear there is a great Disney movie out, I guess I’ll check that out. Now if I could only remember the name of it…


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