At a few points during last night’s NBA Draft, I was worried that ESPN was trying a little too hard to play the emotional angle with some of the young basketball talents by asking about family members or friends that they’ve lost along the way. For example, after Marcus Smart was drafted by the Boston Celtics, he was asked about his brother, Todd Westbrook, who lost his battle with cancer 10 years ago, and has since been the driving force behind Smart’s passion for basketball. After Adreian Payne was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks, he was asked about his little sister and best friend, “Princess” Lacey Holsworth, who passed away several months ago after becoming a household name during the NCAA Tournament.
But unlike, say, pressing Bode Miller about his deceased brother until he cries, it was all done very well and in proper taste, perhaps because it was leading up to something bigger. Before the Chicago Bulls could make their selection at No. 16, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver “drafted” Isaiah Austin from Baylor University so he could fulfill his dream of going pro, after it was revealed last week that his career is over because he was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome. It’s been a hell of a wild ride early on for Silver, but he’s doing a pretty great job. Maybe he can find a nice executive gig for Austin, too.