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Scene stealers (cont.)

Posted: Friday June 29, 2007 12:13PM; Updated: Friday June 29, 2007 5:00PM
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3. Fashion Jo

Joakim Noah went to great lengths to ensure the cleanliness of his outfit.
Joakim Noah went to great lengths to ensure the cleanliness of his outfit.

Seersucker suits have transcended the Kentucky Derby fashion scene and made their way to the NBA Draft, thanks to -- who else -- Noah, who sported a tan-striped ensemble on Thursday.

He seemed to be especially proud of his fashion statement, and overly concerned about keeping the duds clean; while approaching the players' buffet area an hour before the draft, he started yelling, "No mustard! No mustard!"

An NBA employee inquired about the mustard problem, to which Noah responded, "What's the problem with mustard? Do you see this? It's seersucker! This is the original!" After conferring with the employee, Noah took off his coat, handed it to her and hit the buffet.

Over the course of the draft proceedings, between buffets and press conferences and photo ops, I saw at least three people enlisted to hold Noah's coat -- an opportunity that, I'm sure, made each of their nights.

4. Oden's Overhaul

One gets the feeling that Greg Oden has had media training in between the time he left Ohio State and landed at No. 1 in the draft.

He answered every question during Thursday's press conference -- and most of his media appearances leading up to the draft, too -- with a grin and an attempt at a wisecrack. For example, he said he won't be able contribute to the Blazers' image problem because "I have a 1:30 bed time, so I won't be out at night." As a result the adjective most used to describe him of late has been gregarious; he's now a giant "with a personality to match his size."

To someone who covered Oden during the '06-07 college season, this is a curious change. This is the same guy who wandered around the student-stormed court in Columbus stone-faced after his No. 1-ranked team beat Wisconsin to clinch the Big Ten title, right? And the same guy who, during the NCAA tournament, employed the services of two team managers to sit on either side of him during interviews, as a way of preventing the media horde from getting too close? And also the same guy whom suitemate Mike Conley said preferred, above all else, to sit in the dark in his room and watch DVDs? The adjectives I was most likely to use back then were stoic or strange.

5. Degrees of Rightness

Spencer Hawes is a hardcore conservative from, of all places, the liberal stronghold of Seattle. He was drafted into a city (Sacramento) where one of the country's most recognizable Republican governors (Arnold Schwarzenegger) is in office. Hawes says he "loves" Arnold, and that he brought True Lies with him on the trip to New York, with plans to watch it on the flight home. "Now it has a little extra meaning for me," Hawes said.

Before we expect some kind of right-wing, basketball-and-politics partnership to form, though, Hawes might need to change his stance on global warming. Schwarzenegger, who most recently discussed the issue with world leaders during a tour of Europe, has become a leading figure in the fight for action against climate change. Hawes has a different view.

When I spoke with Hawes at the league's predraft camp on May 31, he talked about a recent Public Debate class exercise at the University of Washington. In it, he said, he denied the entire existence -- and human cause -- of global warming. When asked for his take on Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, Hawes said, "It's one big lie. I talked about that in my opening speech -- it's the media's liberal overexaggeration of just about everything."

Hawes, also an avid listener of The Rush Limbaugh Show, will be happy to know that Rush also turned pro -- as a talk radio host -- in Sacramento. For fear of overexaggerating any additional draft tales, we'll leave you with that.

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