20 Funniest Draft Moments in Sports History
We've got one down and two to go, people.
The NFL draft is in the books, and football fans are going about their yearly ceremonies of buying jerseys and patching fist-shaped holes in their drywall. Next up are the NBA and NHL drafts, both of which will occur at the end of June.
In short, we're smack dab in that awkward part of the year where draft analysts and prognosticators try desperately to fill column space with any new observation they can conjure. Phrases like "T-Rex arms" and "solid motor" will soon be making their annual bloom in the predictable places, and it's easy to lose the forest in the weird, buzzword-y flowers.
With that said, here are 20 of the funniest draft moments from NFL, NBA and NHL drafts past, for no other reason than to remind you that glorious things can occur during these selection ceremonies.*
And no, there are no MLB draft moments on this list. Only two of those guys actually go into the league, and I'm pretty sure Selig holds it at a Dave & Busters out of spite.
*This is in no particular order.
George Armstrong Flashes His Best Smile
George Armstrong played 21 years in the NHL with the Toronto Maple Leafs and won four Stanley Cups in the process, so it stands to reason that he doesn't have to give a hot damn what anyone thinks.
Armstrong's DGAF side showed up at the 1989 NHL draft when he purposely popped his false teeth out for the camera on live television.
Take notes, Bud Selig. Advanced age is not an excuse for being the worst all the time.
Nene Hilario Dances Onstage
Skip to the 3:03 mark for the moves.
Do a little dance...give a little hug...draft Nene tonight!
Short of winning an NBA title and throwing Drake through a champagne waterfall at LIV, Nene Hilario will never do anything more awesome than his dance at the 2002 NBA draft. And that's a compliment.
Bill Simmons Needs Medical Help
It sounded like he was being chased by a wild boar, but, rest assured, it was just Bill Simmons losing his twisted mind over the Cleveland Cavaliers taking Anthony Bennett with the No. 1 overall pick in 2013.
For once, the Sports Guy was speechless. No snark poured forth from his mouth for a whole 12 seconds. Frankly, everyone was dumbfounded, and based on Bennett's contributions in Cleveland this past season, the surprise was justified.
Also, check out the look on Nerlens Noel's face after the pick. You could spread that on crackers.
Dontari Poe: Nose Tackler
You can't get much closer than Dontari Poe got to Roger Goodell at the 2012 NFL draft.
The Memphis nose tackle went in for a long hug and ended the embrace with an incidental nose grace. Sometimes you just get so caught up in the moment, all personal space calibration gets thrown to the wolves.
And then magic happens.
Image via SportsPickle.com
The Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society
Quite frankly, Stephen A. Smith loooves his cheese doodles!
It's difficult to overstate my admiration and respect for the committed individuals of the "Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society." This small, elite group of men took it upon themselves to begin attending NBA drafts for the sole purpose of giving ESPN's most loquacious personality a bit of his own medicine.
Not only did they manage to catch Smith's attention, the hecklers also cut it up with athletes and personalities on their way to their seats. Unfortunately, the society was disbanded after two years for reasons we still don't understand. Like the city of Pompeii, the members and their lifestyles were seemingly swallowed by the earth, leaving nothing behind but eerie silence and a crumpled bag of doodles in their place.
David Stern and 'The American Sign for Respect'
A fan-made draft moment for the ages, David Stern finally addressed the now customary act of booing the commissioner at the NBA draft in 2013.
Wading into yet another wall of sonic disapproval, the NBA commissioner smiled at the un-adoring crowd. "We've had to explain to our international partners that the boo is an American sign for respect," Stern said.
And just like that, a sea of people who despised the commissioner developed a grudging respect for the man. Hell, some even clapped.
Stephon Gilmore: Rockabye Roger
Stephon Gilmore wasn't in any hurry to get off that stage once his name was called in the 2012 NFL draft.
He and Roger Goodell shared a beautiful moment, complete with several body rocks. Sometimes you need to take a break and bask in the moment.
Drew Gooden: No Buttons No Problems
Conventional wisdom suggests you never go full Inspector Gadget. Drew Gooden went full Inspector Gadget.
Rocking an outfit that said "You go to Hell, I'll go to England," Gooden climbed onstage at the 2002 NBA draft looking like a mix between Admiral Tarkin and an extra from an off-Broadway Mary Poppins production.
Then again, it wasn't the weirdest look he'd foist on the American public.
Deion Sanders: Too Expensive for Detroit
Dressed in full MC Hammer music video regalia, Deion Sanders celebrated the Atlanta Falcons taking him fifth overall in the 1989 NFL draft.
Naturally, when asked what he thought about the possibility of the Lions taking with the third pick, Prime Time shrugged the nasty off with a solid gold line.
"I was kinda scared, I thought Detroit was going to take me," Sanders said. "I would've asked for so much money they would've had to put me on layaway."
Brazilian Ballplayer Wins NBA Draft
Love or hate Bill Simmons, the Sports Guy was on the money when he proclaimed "Lucas just won the Internet with that afro."
Indeed, everything before and after Lucas Nogueira's selection at the 2013 NBA draft became secondary the moment the Brazilian teen placed a (seemingly) tiny flat brim atop his mountainous curly locks.
Nogueira's afro was a wonderful palate cleanser for a weird draft. It almost wiped away the part where Cleveland took Anthony Bennett first overall. Almost.
Fletcher Cox and the Never Ending Goodell Hug
There's nothing wrong with a good, long hug, but c'mon, guys. The next pick was almost in before these two finished snuggling.
Brady Quinn Not Getting Picked
Brady Quinn was so casual.
He leaned his head to the right, muttered some Artful Dodger line out the side of his mouth and waited. He'd seen Leonardo DiCaprio movies before. Just oil your hair, and pretend you don't give a damn. Good things will happen.
Good things did eventually happen, considering he was drafted and paid millions to play football in the NFL. Granted, he did have to wait the length of Titanic before finding out his childhood dreams would be played out in the quarterback graveyard.
Also, as much as anyone wants to compare Manziel's wait to Quinn's, those who watched the 2007 draft will tell you Quinn's wait was immeasurably more uncomfortable and entertaining.
Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison Trade Hats
Skip to the 1:50 mark for the trade.
Completing the rare and spectacularly awkward draft day hat-swap, UNC teammates Vince Carter and Antawn Jamison traded swag onstage at the 1998 NBA draft when the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors decided to make a slick deal.
The Raptors sent Jamison (whom they drafted fourth overall) to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Vince Carter (the fifth overall selection) and some cash. The teams brokered the arrangement within minutes of their respective picks, leading to a changing of the hats onstage with David Stern.
With that said, ignoring all this background information makes watching the video a lot more fun. I like to pretend Stern pulled a mid-draft hot route and vetoed Jamison to the Raptors, telling them to switch teams for "basketball-related reasons."
Yao Ming: The Most Awkward High Fives
If you could barter awkward moments like precious commodities, Yao Ming's draft high fives would be worth all the gold in Casterly Rock.
Never change, Yao.
Phil Kessel: Last Kid on the Board
Poor Phil Kessel wound up being the last kid getting picked for dodgeball during the 2011 NHL All-Star draft.
Alexander Ovechkin took photos and soaked in the moment as Kessel was taken by Team Lidstrom with the final pick. The best part of this video might be Patrick Kane, who appeared on the verge of eviscerating the Leafs forward with a "We're good. Thanks, Phil." line.
It's all right, though. Picked last as he was, Kessel received a free car and $20,000 in cash to donate to a charity of his choice for being the last pick of the All-Star draft.
Maurice Taylor's Aqua Nightmare Suit
Going with the Batman villain motif, Maurice Taylor rocked an aggressive aqua blue at the 1997 NBA draft.
His reward for this daring ensemble? The 14th overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Samaki Walker: Cabaret Chic Meets Nilla Wafers
If Odd Job had a giant, adopted brother, he would look like Samaki Walker did at the 1996 NBA draft.
Walker strolled onstage looking like a mix between Mr. Peanut and a spokesman for classy, vanilla-flavored cookies. This is attire you can get away with when you have "the bulk factor."
Melvin Ingram Daps Up the Commish
In one of his rarer, more human moments, Roger Goodell embraced South Carolina Gamecock Melvin Ingram with a choreographed handshake at the 2012 NFL draft.
Part of me wants to bag Goodell into the dirt for using this as a calculated show of humanity, but I'm not going to be that cynical turd today. There has to be one pot of gold at the end of a rainbow somewhere. I want to believe in unicorns, and a genuine Goodell smile is as close as it gets to horned mythical beasts in the NFL.
Rookie on Rookie Crime
Granted, this is post-draft media stuff (and I'm completely biased in favor of Indiana), but Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller made me chuckle when they began slam-towning fellow rookies after 2013 NBA draft.
The garbage pail poster dunk is completely played out (thanks, yuppies), but I'll never tire of actual basketball players surprise-slamming their colleagues. Keeps the body guessing.