Especially for those Miami Heat haters, the end of the NBA Finals is a tough pill to swallow. Not only are we now under the rule of the Miami Empire, but without any more NBA games to be played, fans of the league are left with nothing but the monotony of baseball until NBA training camps open in September.
Sure, you can catch some Olympic basketball but who wants to wake up early or stay up late already knowing that the U.S. will win by 30? There’s also the summer leagues, but aside from the top draft picks, most of the players are unrecognizable and the play is just downright sloppy. So even though it’s usually within just a week of the final buzzer of the NBA season, the easiest way to get your NBA fix for the summer is at the annual draft.
The draft itself lacks a “wow” factor, or anything that’s going to make you pop out of your seat in excitement, but if you suffer from severe NBA withdrawals each and every summer, perhaps the only remedy is to attend it. Let me tell you why.
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5. Won’t Miss A Thing
Don’t you hate when you’re at a game and you can’t get updated on replays or get any details from the commentary? I thought the draft would be the same way, but the same draft you see on your TV at home is mic’d up for the viewing pleasure of those attending. This way, you don’t miss any information about trades, player profiles, or what to expect out of the athletes being drafted.
4. It Doesn’t Matter Who You Root For
At the NBA Draft, you can find fans from all over the place. Remember what I said earlier about the drink consumption by mostly everyone there? Well it brings out all the theatrics and shenanigans you can imagine. Last year, a Suns fan ran up and down the bleachers after they took Markieff Morris with the No. 13 pick, waiving a banner with the jubilance of a man who just hit the lottery. People dress up not only in their team’s jerseys, but sometimes even as their favorite team’s mascot, as if it’s the opening night for a Harry Potter movie. It’s an NBA nerd’s dream. So no matter where you’re from or who you root for, you never have to be too embarrassed to show some team pride.
3. Witnessing History
I attend a lot of NBA games and one my favorite things to say is “I was there when ___.” There’s just something different about seeing history live in person that makes it that much more unfathomable. Those who attended the 2003 Draft can always say they were there the day LeBron James, and many other of today’s stars were drafted and if Michael Jordan can slip to the third pick and Kobe Bryant to the 13th, you never know who the next great player might be. Being drafted into the NBA is a special day in the lives of these players and as their fans, seeing someone you followed or liked to watch in college take the next step is great for us too.
2. Booing David Stern
With all that David Stern has done with marketing his game globally, it’ll just never be enough for the casual fans. I guess I understand why people boo him. A rouge referee and skepticism about a frozen envelope will always mar his time as commissioner. During his reign, we’ve seen superstars totally change the way an official calls the game and the flopping has gotten way out of hand. The NBA as presently constituted is certainly a far cry from the game I grew up watching in the ’90s, but things could be much worse. Just think how hockey fans feel about the inability of the Stanley Cup Finals to be seen on a major sports network. Meanwhile, NBA games are broadcasted nationally at least four nights per week, and that’s just during the regular season. Nonetheless, it has become tradition to greet the commissioner with a chorus of boos each trip up to the podium, and if you’re there live in person, it’s difficult not to succumb to the pressure and join. Thankfully, Stern either has gotten used to the disapproval thrown his way, or just has a great sense of humor and takes everything in stride with a smile on his face (and dollar signs in his eyes).
1. The Atmosphere
The draft has been in New York or New Jersey since 2001, so you would think to expect the usual Madison Square Garden crowd, with the businessmen in suits occupying the closest sections while the true fans cause a ruckus from above. However, as you walk in, you notice a sea of basketball fans with every NBA team represented. Since there is no game action and with all the time between draft picks, it doesn’t take long for the drinks to start flowing and before you know it, people start getting a little restless. Comments are shouted out about every team on the clock but everything is in a friendly, joking manner. It’s not your average NBA crowd, as mostly everyone at the draft knows the NBA well and can carry an intelligent basketball conversation.
Will you be attending the draft tonight?
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