DRAFTDUST MEMORIES: Of course, draft

DRAFTDUST MEMORIES: Of course, draft night for me always brings back wonderful memories, mostly from the years in which I followed the perenially-in-the-lottery Timberwolves. I even attended a “fans party” at the Target Center in 1992 to “celebrate” the drafting of Christian Laettner, the man who was supposed to lead the T-Wolves to the promised land (call him the Rick Pitino of Minnesota). This is the team that drafted Luc Longley and Felton Spencer in the top 7 in consecutive years, although when the Knicks had both Longley and Spencer for a brief period in 2001, I got the last laugh. And don’t even get me started on J.R. Rider… those days were memorable, most of all, for the relentless optimism, that one of those years, we’d finally get the guy we needed. It took ’til ’95 and the drafting of a guy who’d gone to his prom two weeks before, but we got it done.
Then there was the year I cut off a promising date with a summer-camp co-worker to go home and see whether the Wolves had managed to land Stephon Marbury (they had; my mother’s observation on the draft: “they were all tall, they were all black, and they all had their mothers with them.”) I guess it’s good that the Wolves are out of the lottery now, or else the illegal Joe Smith contract would’ve cost me and other Wolves fans five more years of stories like this.
Back in the ’93, this time at overnight camp, my cabin-mates and I attempted to listen to the draft on a barely-registering AM radio frequency, and were highly confused about the trade of the #1 pick- Chris Webber had been traded to Golden State? For Tim Hardaway? What about Anfernee Hardway? Huh? Later that night, we listened for the end-of-the-first-round pick by the home team of my camp friends, the Bulls, as they drafted… Cincinnati forward Corie Blount, leading to ten voices simultaneously screaming “who the fuck is Corie Blount?” Blount won three rings with the Bulls and another with the Lakers, but to this day I still can’t hear his name without thinking “who the fuck is Corie Blount”? As a councilor at that same camp six years later, driving away from the camp grounds during a night off, I cheered the news that the Wolves had drafted Wally Szczerbiak, with the pick they’d given up in exchange for… Stephon Marbury.
Finally, The Sports Guy (fresh off his selection to the Entertainment Weekly IT List), has a column of his favorite Top 50 draft memories. Sports Guy lists as #43 last year’s report by Peter Vecsey that the Knicks would not be able to trade for Chris Webber, thus drawing an immediate “Vecsey Sucks!” chant from the New York crowd. As an indicator of both the attitudes of New York fans and of Vecsey’s ineptitude, I’d have put that in the top ten, easily.

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