The NBA Draft 2010 experience has come to a close. It was ultimately a more pleasant experience than prior trips, with plenty of highs (but not without its lows). That statement should be adopted as New York's tourism slogan.
I'd like to thank my numerous hosts, guides, escorts (not that kind), guests, tweeps, escorts (that kind), sherpas, bloggers, fans, and all-around cool people who made the past 5 days the best trip to the city yet. I'll shout you out as you appear in the timeline.
This is not going to be the draft captions post. I have 100+ pics of my own to parse and edit, in addition to those taken by three of my draft day bros and sisses. You know that really lazy thing Bill Simmons does in which he "live blogs" a game that has already happened? That's what this is, but for each day of my stay until the draft caps are ready, (and I don't get paid for it).
I decide to take the DC2NY bus up there because
- Every time I drive to NYC, I pay around $150 in parking and never use my car at all.
- I don't get paid for this.
- There is a 50/50 shot I'll have wifi.
- I've been driving with an expired license since September. THUG LIFE.
I got to DuPont circle at 8am for the 9am bus and was immediately accosted by a gang of mosquitos who didn't like that I was treading on their turf. I think they're evolving to hunt in packs. This is significant because my right arm was already swollen from having broken it 5 weeks ago. Then it became a goddamn balloon and would remain like that for the duration of the trip, grossing out women and children alike. I have a tattoo of Huey from the Boondocks on that forearm which was morphed into Don King.
While on the bus, I was notified there would not be wifi (fuck), we could not watch the soccer game (FUCK), and would instead watch Invictus (FUUUUUCCCCK), and Avatar (FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK).
Naturally, I put on my iPod and went with Nas & Damian Marley's Distant Relatives album while I followed the USA soccer game and the marathon tennis match on twitter.
I checked into the hotel at 4pm and it was immediately off to Steve Nash's Chinatown Showdown, a charity soccer game featuring active NBA players, ex-professional soccer players, and other minor celebs.
The 2010 Roster:
Francesco - I'm guessing either a soccer player or a fashion designer. You come to this site for hard hitting analysis like that.
Giovanni Iovine - Restaurateur.
Simone Sandri - Co-host of NBA-TV's NBA International.
Simone Motta - Italian soccer bro.
Giuseppe Rossi - Italian-American soccer bro who turned down the US team to play for Italy, only to be left off Italy's World Cup squad. Despite this, he had his own vocal fan section (complete with a vuvuzela).
Claudio Reyna - Perhaps the most popular soccer player (measured in terms of cheering). The former US team captain retired in 2008 but looks like he could still go another few years. Despite being being a University of Virginia alum, he did not play with a popped collar.
Richie Williams - Former MLS soccer player (and another UVA alum). Williams rivaled Nate Robinson in shortness.
Jeremy Hall - Current active soccer player for the New York Red Bulls. Doesn't look a day over 13. Hall was one of the few professional soccer players who were trying a bit too hard for a charity game. We get it, you're better at soccer than non-soccer players. This is like me challenging NBA Players to configure a router.
Danleigh Borman - Another current active soccer player for the New York Red Bulls. I didn't see him much on the field but I am told he is a part-time sparkplug.
Siniša Ubiparipović - Oh hey, another New York Red Bulls player. Imagine that.
Youri Djorkaeff - Retired French soccer player who was part of the 1998 World Cup championship squad. Most importantly remembered for his brief foray into la musique terrible.
Mike Quadrino - Figure skating bro who did not, in fact, play in this game.
Mike Quarino - Correction: Quarino is the head of fan relations for the Philadelphia Union and actually played in this game. EASY MISTAKE TO MAKE (apologies to both Mike Q's). Thanks to @rolando for the tip.
Anthony LaPaglia - Agent Jack Malone from CBS' Without A Trace. Agent Malone held his own in goal despite being the oldest player out there. He was also surprisingly tatted up. Unfortunately his Without a Trace co-star, Roselyn Sánchez, was not in attendance. Believe me, I looked.
Brandon Jennings - Milwaukee Bucks wunderkind PG. He was the fastest player on the field but spent most of his time cherry-picking. Jennings scored a couple of goals, but took about 15 shots to do it. There's probably an analogy to be made there, but I'll leave that to the haters. Jennings had no problem kamikaze'ing the goalie on more than one occasion. You have to love his recklessness.
Tony Parker - That PG who isn't George Hill on the San Antonio Spurs. A lackadaisical Parker moseyed around the field with all the urgency of a guy that wears pink polos to the club.
Raja Bell - NBA player currently with the.... (checks NBA.com)... Golden State Warriors? Sure, why not? Bell's skills were overshadowed by his adorable kids. Future stoppers of Kobe's kids in the making.
Marc Stein - ESPN.com's senior NBA writer. Stein played limited minutes but managed not to chortle at NBA Free Agency during his brief appearance. He may have tweeted though.
Jared Dudley - The Phoenix Suns' bench shooter/oddly-succesful defender. I know he appears to have the build of a YMCA player on TV, but in-person he's a very tall YMCA player. Dudley was definitely the most overmatched of anyone to play significant minutes and was clearly winded after about 7 minutes. This made his goals that much more spectacular. There was a point in the game where his teammate, Steve Nash, decided that it was time for Dudley to score and proceeded to force him the ball possession after possession. Eventually, this tactic payed off leading to one of the best moments of the game. Dudley scored a gimme goal and was immediately mobbed by teammates. Upon his escape from his teammates, he tried to escape the park by climbing up the 15 ft chain link fence. Jared Dudley would score another incidental goal later and celebrate with some codeine cartwheels. They were leaning.
Nate Robinson - Bench scorer on the Eastern Conference Champion, Boston Celtics. Apart from Steve Nash, Nate had the most fan and media attention. His enthusiasm was unparalleled and was treating this as seriously as he does an NBA regular season game (okay, bad example). Nate would finish with a hat trick, celebrating the first goal by losing his shirt, and the last by losing gravity with a back-flip. It should be noted that Nate was the only player to send a ball into the bleachers during warm-ups. This should surprise nobody. While not Dwight Howard, Nate did jump over the goalie more than once.
Steve Nash - Two-time MVP and headliner of the event. It wasn't Nash's soccer skills that impressed me most. We are all aware he can futbol. Instead, it was Nash's leadership skills. I know it sounds cliche, but Nash was barking instructions to professional soccer players during the second half of a charity game. The craziest part? They were listening to him. There is nothing more I can say.
- There was more media at the game than actual spectators. This would be a recurring theme of the week. The NBA Draft is more of a masturbatory event for the media than it is for either the league or the draftees. The fan experience could've been a little more polished. More on this in my draft recap.
- I bestowed a lot of praise on the NBA players, but the real stars were the soccer players. This should surprise nobody. For the most part, the pro soccer players knew when to exert themselves and when to hang back and keep the game friendly. That being said, nobody seemed to like being shown up by Nate Robinson. Each Robinson goal was followed up very quickly by a retaliatory goal.
- I don't know what the score was, nor which side won. Also, I don't care. This was a charity event to benefit the Steve Nash Foundation. The score was 8-8 at one point if you really care.
- The man behind The Truth Sports tracked me down at halftime. You should go read his recap of the game.
- Steve Nash ended the game with a "USA! USA! ... and Canada... and everyone else" chant.
Following the game, I met up with tweeps Nick and Drew Lichtenberg to grab some beer and discuss the aforementioned game. If you enjoy soccer, you should read Nick's article published on boston.com.
Afterwards, I broke my Subway cherry and took it as closely back to my hotel on 39th and Lex as I could. Pretty simple, all things considered. I made my way to a local pub and hung around until last call prior to getting all of 2 hours of sleep before I had to get up and head to MSG to line up for tickets to the draft.
I gotta say, today was a good day.