One of the most anticipated events on the sports calendar, the NBA Draft is where each player, from the all-time busts to the all-time greats, begins his journey. If you’re a little rusty on your hoops knowledge, use this primer to ready yourself for what’s set to be another thrilling installment of NBA history in the making.
1. The first NBA Draft was in 1947, and in the 70-year history of the event, the commissioner has gotten jealous of the players only once: Leading up to the 2003 draft, media members couldn’t stop themselves from gushing about the potential of a young LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and a handful of other incredible players, ultimately going so over the top that then-commissioner David Stern got fed up and locked himself in the bathroom. From the outside of the bathroom door, it took family, friends, players, and team owners over 90 minutes to explain to David that he was special in a much different way than the players, and that just because he wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime basketball talent, it didn’t mean he wasn’t impressive, too.
2. NBA commissioner Adam Silver always shaves his head extra smooth before the NBA Draft to pay his respect to basketballs: The monumental weight of the night is not lost on commissioner Adam Silver, who is always sure to shave, wax, and polish his own scalp in order to pay his utmost respect to the basketball, the iconic piece of sporting equipment that has made all of this possible.
3. Since 2011, Shaquille O’Neal has drafted eight players that he keeps just for himself: While playing some causal basketball is certainly a part of what Shaq’s team does after being drafted by the Hall of Famer, the newly acquired players will mostly help Shaq with his romantic life, give him professional advice, and keep the big fella company when he’s lonely and needs help falling asleep. With players paid as handsomely as any NBA rookie while acting as close confidants to one of the most charismatic athletes ever, some argue that being drafted by Shaq is an honor that exceeds even that of being drafted into the NBA.
4. The Philadelphia 76ers were able to acquire the #1 pick in this year’s draft from the Boston Celtics after agreeing to worship up to three deities of the Celtics’ choosing: The ’6ers front office worked some serious magic by moving up to the first overall pick in the draft, but it was only possible after a long, serious negotiation with Boston that ended in Philly’s unrelenting devotion to up to, but no more than, three deities of the Celtics’ choosing. While it’s still unknown if Philly will end up praising Poseidon, Horus, Satan himself, or any number of other deities, just or unjust, loving or cruel, the trade looks like a win for both sides as of right now.
5. Every year the NBA promises Van Halen that the little tune they play when a pick is in will be replaced by the drum intro from “Hot For Teacher,” and every year it’s proven to be a lie: Van Halen is always in attendance at the NBA Draft, and as the night goes on and the legendary band slowly realizes that the double bass drum from the beginning of “Hot For Teacher” isn’t going to be used when a pick is about to be made, they are completely devastated. Seeing the Van Halen brothers solemnly console a crushed David Lee Roth as they shuffle out of the building, shoulders slumped in brand-new tuxedos they bought just for the event, is always the worst part of the night.