I've been very lucky. I'm not a professional journalist, nor have I ever studied the subject -- or wanted to even write every day of my life -- but I kind of backed into it as a hobby. And as a result of a pretty strong hobby work ethic, I've ended up getting media credentials for certain NBA events. Even today, while I declined attending my usual things (covered the NBA Draft and NBA Draft combines in 2013 and 2014, taking this season off), I still get e-mails from agencies, PR departments, and sometimes random player family members. This isn't a humble brag. This is a statement that if you want some of the perks of this fun life of news blogging you have to consistently work at it like a job every day. (Also, if you want to start off in this field, writing blogs for us is a good way to get your foot in the door.) For some of the players that will be picked in the NBA Draft they've been slogging away at their hobbies (sports) for years too with a similar work ethic, while maintaining amateur status. The best of each media company get a chance to go to the biggest events. And the best players of the 2015 draft class get to go to the draft and BE part of the event.
Honestly, it's a rush to be there and take pictures of these larger than life men sitting feet away from you, flanked by their own personal support group. I can only imagine how much more of a big deal it is to be in one of those seats. With the recent change in how the draft is done it goes (from farthest to closest) multi-media board, podium, stage, green room, media, broadcast media. Before the green room was near the stage, but wasn't in direct line of sight. In a way for the people writing about the event that's on the stage they first have to go through the players waiting yet to be called.
It can get awkward as we were able to notice Nerlens Noel noticing us while his draft stock kept falling.
Well, that's a sad story. A happier story is this day, and the happy moments for each of the players, family members, baby mommas, coaches, mentors, and hangers on who will be sitting in the green room. These kids will get drafted today. But before that happens, being invited to the green room means that you have "kinda" made it to the point where the NBA media and PR machine has noticed you and may want to start promoting you. (Sidebar: Day of the draft my first year there they played a TV ad on NBA TV where the final, money talking part of the ad was Myck Kabongo. That ad / bumper for the draft was shown only once. Ever. He didn't get drafted, and it's been out of sight / out of mind for someone that the NBA machine was ready to promote.)
So who are the players selected by the NBA to get their star on? (As in: have their names on the back of their jerseys in time for the rookie photo shoot?)
|Kelly Oubre Jr.
While being targeted to be a star is nice, nothing is better than the random guy in the crowd who gets picked and everyone goes crazy. They've tightened that up a bit lately, but it's not as curious as people declining a green room invite. The last time this was a big deal was my second year at the draft -- when Shabazz Muhammad was "at a hotel accross the street" from Barclays instead of in the green room. He didn't know how far he would fall, and didn't want his "image" tarnished by shots of him on TV sitting by himself in the green room. Because of his ego he set back all of the interviews by 40 minutes that day, and it was very tense when he was picked #14, and he didn't show up for his hat, handshake, and media availability until pick #25 or so.
It wasn't a problem for me, but the NBA guys who run this show run it on assumed precision, and a move like that makes the machine slow down. That night was a mess for other reasons too, the first year with David Stern. But that's a story for another day.
As for these green room, pseudo-stars, the Jazz have a chance to pick up one of them early on. The team also worked out a few of them: Bobby Portis, Jerian Grant, Kelly Oubre Jr., Kevon Looney, Myles Turner, Sam Dekker, and Trey Lyles. (They also worked out R.J. Hunter, but he declined the green room for actually semi-wholesome reasons.) I'm in favor of getting players that help put the Jazz team on the map. You need stars because stars get star calls in the playoffs, and sometimes that makes a huge difference. Having popular young players is the first part. (Helping them continue to be visible and make them more popular is the next step, but we see how well the Jazz have done with keeping Dante Exum locked up in a tower.)
I'm excited for each of these guys. I wish them the best in their lives, be it in the NBA or otherwise. The green room is part of the show now, and these guys know they are a part of it.