NBA TV debuted its latest original documentary film last night, “THE84DRAFT,” which looked at the legendary draft that gave us Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and John Stockton. But my favorite segment of the film was when it featured the lesser known story of Dan Trant, the last player taken in the draft.
Back in those days, the draft went 10 rounds. In 1984, after all the top collegiate prospects were off the board, fringe players like Trant were selected in the later rounds, with a chance to participate in training camp to make the team. With the last pick in the draft, the Boston Celtics took Trant with the 228th pick.
Trant was a two-time All-American at Clark University, a Division III school. He failed to make the Celtics team, and ended up playing overseas in Ireland. Soon after, he gave up his dreams of playing basketball as a profession and settled down in Long Island with his wife and three kids.
By 2001, he was a bond trader for Cantor Fitzgerald, whose firm was located on the 103rd floor of Tower 1 at the World Trade Center. Trant was one of the victims of the September 11 attacks. He was 40 years old a the time.
Lance Faniel, a high school friend of Trant’s, remembered the last night they spent together before his death:
“I got tickets to the Red Sox/Yankees game at Yankee Stadium,” he said. “I drove to Long Island, we picked up his sons, and we went to the game. He was wearing a Red Sox shirt, and the guy taking tickets at the stadium joked that I was going to have to be Dan’s body guard that night.”
The Red Sox and Yankees did not face-off that night. Instead, it rained and Faniel and the Trants went back to Trant’s house to watch football.
Faniel still had the ticket stub from that game.
“Who knows, if the game hadn’t been rained-out, maybe he wouldn’t have gone to work the next day,” he said. “At times I felt if the game had been played how things would have changed.”
In the documentary, Trant’s son — who is also named Daniel — spoke about appreciating the time he had to spend with his father. Trant’s son is 25-years-old now, and admitted stepping on the basketball court was difficult for him at first, but it now gives him peace of mind.
Even though he never played a single game in the NBA and was the last pick in what turned out to be one of the greatest drafts of all time, Dan Trant is a name you should remember from the ’84 draft. You can watch a five-minute tribute produced by the league here:
What do you think?
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