February 2, 2018 and June 21, 2018 are officially the only days I’ve ever felt like an NBA Draft pick. On February 2nd, I received a call from Lorne and Bailey who spoke the greatest single word I’ll ever hear them speak: “Welcome.” I was drafted by the Manhattan Sports Business Academy. I missed out on a green room invite, but in my Marquette dorm room a Bluetooth speaker blared Frank Sinatra, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z, and I celebrated on my own terms. On June 21st, a night where 60+ young men realize their dreams, it was odd to feel gratitude of my own. I’m truly sitting alongside 10 other MSBA “draft picks”. I’m truly here in New York City for the summer, working at a sports agency. And I’m truly grateful for everything that’s led me here.
MSBA has been just as exceptional as each alum has ever described it to be. June 21st was just one of the many incredible evenings I’ve endured since the program began, so I’ve decided to dedicate this post to not only the night of the NBA Draft, but also to what’s made the first two weeks of MSBA so special.
“Shortly before leaving for New York, I convinced myself that these are the most important eight weeks of my life so far. And it wasn’t hard, because it’s turning out to be true.“
Draft day was special from the jump. At 8:30 a.m., rather than my usual business casual attire, I opted to wear a suit (and Miami Vice-esque sunglasses). At the age of 20 I was playing dress-up for the first time ever, “acting as if” I was a GM for the day. I felt the same energy I feel every Draft day, but once I arrived at the Barclays Center, I felt an entirely different buzz. The uniqueness of the draft lies in the attendees. Commissioner Adam Silver, dozens of the world’s best young hoopers, some of the most renowned sports media talents, and most importantly, the most concentrated NBA fans around. Commissioner Silver took the stage to announce the commencement of one of my favorite nights of the year. Even though I was “acting as if” I was a GM, I did have legitimate responsibilities to report trades and rumors with You First Sports. As I refreshed Twitter every 20 seconds, I came to find out each team’s selection minutes before it was made official on the stage in front of me. This allowed me to declare to the dozens of Knicks fans chanting “We want Porter!” that their team would instead select Kevin Knox — a move that filled the Barclays Center with boos. The night reached peak excitement for me when the Milwaukee Bucks were on the clock with the 17th pick. DOUBLE-D! THE BIG RAGU! THE MICHAEL JORDAN OF DELAWARE! Donte DiVincenzo will contribute immediately for the Bucks next season (not the standard for picks outside the lottery), and his play style will be very complementary to Giannis Antetokounmpo. As a sports business professional, I knew I’d enjoy the Draft. But when I was able to congratulate DiVincenzo’s family on their way to meet Donte, I realized how uniquely entertaining and valuable the event was. I managed to converse with the families of multiple Draft picks as well as countless sports business professionals throughout the night. The sports industry is one of a kind, and the NBA Draft is the perfect representation of that.
As for what’s made MSBA special, it’s hard to choose a starting point. As funny as it may sound, rushing through the streets of New York City with a briefcase and backpack each weighing 30 pounds feels terrific. I’ve done so Monday through Friday for the last two weeks as I make my way to Englewood, New Jersey to work at You First Sports. At You First, a full-service basketball agency, I’m conducting a statistical and contractual analysis of one of our clients. I’m essentially learning what information is brought to contract negotiations and how to leverage it. I have to pinch myself as I type this, because there truly isn’t another job I’d rather have. I’m forever grateful for the opportunities MSBA has provided me. The opportunity to work at You First, the opportunity to hear from some of the most impactful organizations and individuals in the sports industry on a nightly basis, and the opportunity to take this summer in with 26 other studs (I see you John and Grace).
Shortly before leaving for New York, I convinced myself that these are the most important eight weeks of my life so far. And it wasn’t hard, because it’s turning out to be true.