As for the rest of the picks, the first round held enough surprises to keep us interested.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken at the No. 2 slot by the Charlotte Bobcats, making this draft historical in that it was the first time ever that the No. 1 and No. 2 picks were from the same college program, in this case the University of Kentucky.
After a meteoric rise in draft stock the last couple of weeks and a lot of interest from the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Oklahoma City Thunder, Bradley Beal was taken at No. 3 by the Washington Wizards. Washington couldn’t have been happier about getting a player that would help stretch the defense for John Wall and add some “high character” to its locker room.
In fact, we heard a lot about high character from the analysts in the first round. We heard as much about it as we heard about high motors, ball handling skills and wingspans. So it’s no wonder, then, that with all of this high character in the room, the stage was set to unveil the biggest surprise of the 2012 NBA draft—humility.
Ever since B.G., Lil Wayne and the rest of the Cash Money Millionaires had us singing about “Bling, Bling,” it’s become a household phrase. Bling is a staple of the American Dream. It is, at once, a coveted accessory and an all encompassing mindset. If you have it, flaunt it. And while you’re flaunting it, act like you always knew you’d have it because you deserve it and make other people feel insignificant without it.
The NBA draft has been no exception to the bling rule. In recent years, guys took the ceremonial walk to shake Stern's hand dripping in flashiness, wreaking of an air about themselves that screamed I’ve been special all of my life and this is what is owed to me for being special.
But not this year. Flash didn't dominate and there was nary a bling bling attitude in the house.
As the cameras did a quick pan of the greenroom last night you got the sense that the area was filled with humble spirits. Tears were a plenty, as well as an awareness of the fact that the night was less about buying your first Bentley but more about overcoming painful hardships to live your dreams.
Anthony Davis’ comment about having trademarked his unibrow not withstanding, put a mic in front of these guys and that sentiment was confirmed. Sniffles were a mainstay and, “I’m just happy to be here” were often the words of choice. Well, those were the words of choice when a guy wasn’t nearly emotionally stunned to silence.
Whoever decided a man ain’t supposed to cry would have been disgusted with last night’s event. I found it refreshing.
The current unemployment rate in this country is 8.2 percent. More jarringly put, 12.7 million Americans are out of work. In troubled times like these we have often looked to sports as a welcome distraction to the harsh realities of our lives.
We love that distraction most when our millionaire athletes display a hungry, aggressive, killer approach to their trade while they’re at work and a modest, deep appreciation for their craft and its riches when they get off work. Just ask LeBron James what happens when folks perceive the opposite to be true.
It would be hard to know for sure, but one would guess that last night’s beaus of the NBA draft all understand that about their new audience. They were all dressed to impress and sporting a new, "can’t miss” accessory, humility.
After all, it goes with everything and is the perfect finishing touch for your date with destiny.