“And with the 24th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets select… Shabazz Napier, Point Guard from the University of Connecticut.”
The NBA Draft. 30 Teams. 60 Picks. 60 athletes who reach their long-term dreams in one night. Each team has its top candidates pinned to a board in the war room, each agent is waiting by his cell phone, and each athlete is anxiously anticipating the commissioner to call his name. These are experiences that all sports enthusiasts know. They know about the high stakes and dollars involved, but what they do NOT know about is the utter thrill that comes with knowing a player, understanding his dreams, meeting his family, and truly recognizing the amount of passion he has for the game.
Interning for an NBA agent has granted me the incredibly unique opportunity to become an intricate part of NBA Draft Week. Through the process of marketing, promoting, and relating with the player, I felt like I was getting a real taste of what it’s like to be an agent. Draft Day brought a whole new meaning to the Draft for me. I went from a mere fan to a valued contributor. It’s one thing to be happy for an athlete you admire or really want on your team, but another to be completely and absolutely elated for an athlete because you consider that person a friend.
Draft Day on the inside is unlike any other event you have ever experienced. It’s full of excitement, strategy, passion, and pure stress. You want to enjoy the day, but at the same time you just want to see your athlete get picked — it’s a fine balance. You sit in the green room and wait while socializing with the family and other players, hoping that sometime in the next five minutes you get that phone call, put on that hat, and shake Adam Silver’s hand. Once that happens, you’ve done your job (well the first part, anyways).
You spend months planning for the Draft. All of the stress associated with creating itineraries, media appearances, signings, dinners, charity events, workouts, and conference calls pays off in the end when the web of questions and uncertainty pans out, and the athlete finds his home team. For a split second we were all Charlotte Hornets fans, but that quickly changed when a trade took place within seconds of Napier’s name being called; he would become the newest member of the Miami Heat. A big-time team for a big-time talent. It was unexpected, but we were all ecstatic for him.
Our night ended with smiles and a celebratory dinner at Dave and Busters around 1am. Everyone was tired, but so proud. This is where I got to congratulate Napier’s family, friends, and agent (my boss). I am incredibly grateful to have experienced Draft Day with so many wonderful people.
I will always remember this day. I thank MSBA for giving us a chance to be a part of events as big and influential as the NBA Draft. Just another amazing summer day!
Next order of business, finding a #13 Miami Heat Jersey!