NBA Draft a snooze

29 06 2010

I’m a few days late writing about my experience at the NBA Draft because I forgot I even went to it. It’s not the experience I expected it to be. The only two things I can take away from the entire day was waiting and waiting and waiting…and then hearing people savagely boo David Stern.

Draft day started at 10 a.m. by waiting in line outside Madison Square Garden for the right to buy a $15 ticket to attend the Draft, which was to begin at 7 that night. Long story short, it wasn’t until 1 that I had the ticket in my hand. Along the way, I received a free 1050 ESPN Radio bottle opener from some dude at the station and chatted with a guy behind me in line, who said he was friends with Hassan Whiteside, who was drafted 33rd overall by the Sacramento Kings.

So we waited outside for roughly two hours, then were shuffled into the covered hallway that leads into the main lobby at MSG. That was another 45-minute wait until we were finally ushered into the box office area, where we waited 15 minutes to buy tickets, two at max. (Three kids outside were trying to scalp “tickets” for $80 by claiming there were only 100 Draft tickets left.)

Tickets in hand, I got back to MSG by 6 in order to get to my seat when doors were supposed to open at 6:30…only they opened at 7. Hour wait in MSG’s main lobby.

The good news for me is I picked up two LeBron 2 NYC t-shirts along the way, as I spoke with Knicks fan Paven Bahl. He was  giving away 500 shirts from boxes outside MSG as a way to funnel people to www.lebron2nyc.org. He sells shirts there and proceeds to go Big Apple Basketball, which describes itself on its website as  a “not-for-profit organization that hosts basketball tournaments, conducts clinics, offers college scholarship programs” yada yada. Check out the site and support the cause.

Once I arrived at my site inside MSG Theater, I simply waited for the inevitable pick of John Wall first overall. Stern was booed at every turn, especially when he congratulated the Lakers for defeating the Celtics in the Finals. I couldn’t figure out that one. Shouldn’t New Yorkers hate the Celtics, thus be happy when they lose the Finals?

The good thing about my seat (in Section 305) was that each draft pick would walk by it as they were shuffled from the Draft stage to a Mark Jones interview near the stage and eventually to the MSG press room, which is near the entrance to the building. As Wall approached our section with about 10 handlers ushering him briskly through the crowd, some moron behind me yelled “It’s LeBron, it’s LeBron!” No, you jackass, Wall isn’t Bron. He obviously is a wishful-thinking Knicks fan.

And that was the night. There was nothing exciting about the Draft. The ESPN desk with Stu Scott, Jon Barry, Jeff Van Gundy and Jay Bilas were broadcast in the arena. Mark Jones sat in his ultra-large, white chair to the left of the ESPN desk waiting for each draftee to come by for his one-on-one session. David Stern appeared to make draft selections and disappeared again behind the stage after each pick. That’s all.

Even my pictures turned out like crap, as evidence below. Will I attend next year? Absolutely but only as a reporter instead of a fan. There are great stories to work on as a reporter. As a fan, all you can do is wait to enter the MSG Theater and cover your ears every time the Commish is booed.

David Stern telling John Wall to watch over Gil Arenas in Washington.

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