Post-NBA draft awards
If their attire at the 2008 NBA draft was any indication, O.J. Mayo will be doubling as an English professor at a local university, Eric Gordon will be parking cars outside the team hotel and Robin Lopez will appall doctors with the worst documented case of "hat hair" the earth has ever seen.
Yup, the draft has become synonymous with curiously-conceived fashion statements, and Thursday night's gathering did not disappoint. In fact, the wide spectrum of outfits on display was one of the best in recent memory, featuring Mayo's three-piece suit and studious-looking spectacles, Gordon's white, valet-esque sport coat and mismatched pants and Lopez's untamed fro, which won a very visible battle with an absurdly small Phoenix Suns hat. Together, the trio formed a perfect storm of wardrobe dysfunction and reiterated an important point for any sports fan: It's worth watching the NBA draft if only for the awkward combination of big money and bad dressers.
But the strange get-ups weren't the only notable observation from last night's happenings. In fact, here are a few other award winners from the evening's events.
The George Lucas "Phantom Menace" Award
To Darrell Arthur's kidney, which may or may not have a mysterious ailment, but still managed to scare the daylights out of nearly every general manager in the NBA. As a result, Arthur slipped late into the first round and also collected the requisite Brady Quinn "Last Man in the Green Room" Award, making it a successful night of winning imaginary awards. I suppose we'll find out more about Arthur's condition as time wears on, but if things check out, whichever team ends up with him -- honestly, my head hurts from trying to figure it out -- could come away with the steal of the draft.
The Skip Bayless "Hyperbolic Statement" Award
To the likeable Fran Fraschilla, who prematurely proclaimed Knicks draft pick Danilo Gallinari could have the same impact in New York City as Derek Jeter and Tiki Barber. Really? Well then, no pressure there. Fraschilla had many of the same glowing reviews for Darko Milicic back in 2003 -- and we all know how that turned out. However, in a surprising twist, Dick Vitale restored balance to the universe when he jumped on the air and subsequently trashed any NBA team that opted for a foreign-born player over a more proven American college star.
The Billy Packer "Hidden Agenda" Award
To NBA Commissioner David Stern, who used the NBA draft, yet again, as an unlikely vehicle to promote the WNBA, which somehow is still operational. Stern opened the evening by welcoming the audience to the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden, the "home of the New York Knicks and the WNBA's New York Liberty!" Of course. Then, during random points of the broadcast, various bits of WNBA news crawled across the bottom of the screen. My questions: How much has the marketing effort to promote the WNBA cost the regular NBA over the last decade? Are we talking more or less than the Mitchell Report? And at what point does the league end charade and realize it's not working?
More SI On Campus