2002 Draft Diary

A little under 48 hours ago the NBA Draft was held at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Most NBA fans watched the event via television set from their homes. That is most NBA fans. Every intense Knicks fan didn't just watch the draft casually, but felt the suspense, sweated out each pick, and generally spent the day counting down to the draft in an excited yet nervous stupor wondering aloud "how will Layden screw up this year?"

In its best attempt to stay in stride with the Knicks community, NYKBasketball.com sent one of their own. Loyal Knicks fan and site columnist Tim Kelly was at the draft in New York City on Wednesday night, writing down each and every thing that happened in detail. The instances fans at home saw during the draft, the tiny bits that were only seen or heard by those in attendance; all was noted by Tim, along with crowd reaction and time of the event. Below is a chronicled diary of the entire day spent by Tim, along with his unique insight and emotions/reactions to each event that happened, basketball related or not. (Special thanks to ESPN Page2 writer Bill Simmons, who invented the idea of the draft diary.)

-9:02 AM: I, along with my buddy Mac, arrive at MSG, only to find a line of about 100 people staring us in the face. It's hot out, my headache begins.
-12:28 PM: Alright, four tickets have been purchased. Whoopee. My train home leaves in 6 minutes, I've got to hurry.
-12:35 PM: Have you ever seen your ride home pulling away without you on it? Not a pleasant feeling, especially when it's 900 degrees and you just sat on cement for three hours.
-12:36 PM: Facing the conflict of either waiting an hour in the Penn Station waiting room (not the most pleasant place on Earth), I take a train to a town adjacent to mine, then walk approximately 12 blocks. It's still unbearably hot and humid.
-6:45 PM: After a quick nap and dinner, I'm back at Penn Station. After finding my posse, we make our way to the turnstyles and are off to find the seats. Who else besides me remembers going to sites like NBADraft.net in November and seeing the countdown atop the page at 180 days, 20 hours, 45 minutes or around there and thinking it'd never be upon us. Well here it was, the wait is over!
-7:04 PM: After receiving an orange hand towel which says "Lucky 7" (apparently I'm supposed to wave it and act excited) Peter Vescey reports over the quality MSG loudspeakers that there is a trade involving McDyess, which receives cheers. In return, the Nuggets would receive Mark Jackson (mixed reaction), Marcus Camby (most cheers), and the 7th pick (deafening boos). And another thing, what are the fans supposed to do with these towels? Get Layden pumped up about making a pick? This makes little to no sense. Can he even see the fans waving the towels from his secluded war room, safe from the angry mobs that will storm his office if he screws this up?
-7:31 PM: Stern to the podium for the first time of the night. Incredibly loud boos for some reason. I begin to wave my towel. Go Stern, go.
-7:32 PM: A woman named Heather Cox (who I've never seen on TNT) informs us that the Rockets have received clearance to draft Yao Ming, to which the majority of the crowd responds with "Who cares?" chants. In the first of many mistakes, Heather tells the world that this draft in particular is a "very gamble draft." Really, Heather?
-7:34 PM: A video montage of Yao Ming is shown. In particular, they show Yao lifting a young Chinese boy up to a basketball hoop to dunk. It takes approximately 10 seconds for Yao to lift the boy, who probably weights 40 to 50 pounds. Start hitting the weights Yao.
-7:36 PM: Ming is selected. Yao-za, let the Ming dynasty begin! In the most awkward moment of the draft, "Team Yao" does a group hi-five with Yao's arm extending past the other 3 people, creating one of the most terribly executed group hi-fives in hi-five history. For a good group hi-five, see the beginning video for "Saved by the Bell" where Jessie, Zach, Lisa, Screech, AC, and the rest of the gang do a damn-near perfect one. Back to basketball…
-7:41 PM: The basketball player formerly known as Jason Williams is selected. Quick point, why is his new name "Jay"? His name wasn't Jayson. I think his new name should be J. Williams. That'd be a lot cooler in my book.
-7:45 PM: There are "token black guys" in every comedy or spoof movie, and there is a "token white guy who is compared to Larry Bird" in every single draft. Last year it was Troy Murphy, now it is Mike Dunleavy, who was just picked by Golden State. The man next to me tells me he will be a bust, so I wave my "Lucky 7" towel.
-7:51 PM: Memphis takes Drew Gooden, and the whole crowd is confused. Where was the Jerry West smoke screen? I'm a bit disappointed I didn't get tricked by West, but then again, I am 4 for 4 in my mock draft. Only 24 picks left.
-7:55 PM: The Nuggets take Nickoloz Tskitishivili, most in attendance are really confused. I tell Tito, the Spurs fan next to me, that he's from Georgia. He has a confused look, so I clear things up. "The Republic of Georgia." He's even more confused now. It's a good thing I've spent so many hours reading mock drafts or I would be too.
-8:00 PM: The Cavs take Dajuan Wagner, and chaos ensues. No, not because he is the first incorrect selection in my mock draft, but it is a combination of Wagner growing up in New Jersey, and the Knicks being on the clock. The Knicks now have 5 minutes. Oh, baby, let's go Hilario.
-8:04 PM: Knicks still on the clock. Most are chanting either "We Want Butler" or "We Want Wilcox." I continue waving my towel and yelling "Lucky 7." I would love to get Hilario right here. I begin to sweat, 30 seconds left on the clock.
-8:05 PM: Charles Barkley tells the world "The Knicks need everything." Thanks, Charles. -8:06 PM: The Knicks are still on the clock. What is going on? Someone should be picked by now. I'm assuming now Layden has decided to think about the draft, sift through workout papers, etc.
-8:07 PM: Oh, no! Stern has that grin on his face, the same one when the Knicks selected Freddy Weis in '99. "With the 7th pick in the 2002 NBA Draft, the New York Knicks select "Nene" Hilario, from Brazil." "BOO! LAY-DEN SUCKS! LAY-DEN SUCKS!"
-8:09 PM: "Fire-Layden" chants ring out. Madness, absolute madness. I'm waving my towel to the dismay of the Indiana Pacers fan behind me.
-8:13 PM: I hi-five Hilario as he walks past my seat. He seems like a decent guy. I'm excited again.
-8:14 PM: "The breaker of bad news" Peter Vescey is back, telling the crowd it will likely be Antonio McDyess and the Nuggets 25th pick in the draft for the rights of "Nene" Hilario, Mark Jackson, and Marcus Camby. The crowd reaction is mixed. In my "diamond" conversation with the Knicks fan in front of me, the Spurs fan next to me, and the Pacers fan behind me, we come to a conclusion that the Knicks will do this trade and be a decent team. (Get it, in the shape of a diamond. Oh, well.)
-8:15 PM: Chris Wilcox goes to the Clippers, or does he go to the Cavs? Why would they take a power forward with Brand? Is the Darius Miles, 8th pick, 12th pick for Andre Miller going to happen. Oh, the mystery, the intrigue, the NBA Draft.
-8:16 PM: Rumors begin to sweep my section, "Is Andre Miller going to be a Knick?"
-8:20 PM: Amare Stoudemire is taken be Phoenix, giving them an incredibly athletic point guard to power forward lineup. I don't even know who their center is, that's how bad my headache has gotten. It's way too loud.
-8:25 PM: Caron Butler to Miami, which I had predicted. But with the wrong picks between 6 and 9, I'm in trouble with my mock draft. Caron promises revenge on all those who passed over him. Can the Knicks get an exemption since it was really the Nuggets pick? The last thing they need Reggie Miller 2002 in the form of Caron Butler on the Heat.
-8:31 PM: Jared Jeffries of Indiana goes to Washington. The Indiana fan behind me, who happens to live in Indiana, says Jeffries isn't going to be a good pro, and informs me that Jared wears a size 34 jacket. "Indiana" Jones then goes on to tell me that his sister wears a 32 jacket. I laugh and wave my towel. Lucky 7.
-8:32 PM: Is the Knicks deal done? Confusion in my section as we all wonder aloud if it's done or not.
-8:33 PM: I wonder if David Stern needs to say "With the x pick in the 2002 draft…" after the 10th pick. Does it really matter after then? Why can't he just say "the Milwaukee Bucks select Marcus Haislip of Tennessee"?
-8:48 PM: Freddie Jones of Oregon is taken? The Theatre at MSG is shocked. The heir to Reggie Miller will be undersized Freddie Jones? Kareem Rush, anyone?
-8:49 PM: Qyntel Woods should've gone to the University of Memphis instead of declaring, he's dropping like a rock.
-8:51 PM: Bostjan Nachbar is selected, the Garden is still in shock.
-8:57 PM: Jiri Welsh is selected, the Garden is dead now. Most fans wonder "Who are these people?" The Spurs fan tells me that "Communist Whities" are taking over the NBA. Interesting…
-9:02 PM: Juan Dixon is selected, the Garden is surprised, but happy. Then the crowd erupts when Juan walks out of the crowd. He was one of us! Ouch, the Green Room snub, Stern looks angered.
-9:09 PM: Curtis Borchardt goes to Orlando, which might become the NBA All-Injured team with oft-injured Grant Hill, "Ice My Knees" Patrick Ewing, Ageless Horace Grant, Tmac's hurt back, and Borchardt's bad feet. Possible disaster.
-9:12 PM: Ryan Humphrey is picked. I'm going into shock. How has Freddie Jones, Juan Dixon, and Ryan Humphrey gone ahead of Qyntel Woods?
-9:17 PM: Dan Dickau, anyone? Kareem Rush? Will someone please take these guys?
-9:23 PM: Funny, Qyntel goes to Portland. The only guy in the draft with a checkered past and the only draftee who has admitted to recreational marijuana use goes to Portland. This is incredible. Yes, Portland with fan hater Bonzi Wells, coke-user Shawn Kemp, and disgruntled Rasheed Wallace. Qyntel should fit right in.
-9:29 PM: Casey Jacobsen is selected, and his girlfriend is shown. The Garden erupts. Craig Sager asks Casey if his girlfriend has any sisters. It doesn't get any better then this.
-9:40 PM: If the Knicks have the 25th pick, could they land Dan Dickau? This is interesting. Nenad Kristic goes to the Nets, and the front-running Nets fans in attendance are angered and leave, apparently to go watch a Red Wings or Diamondbacks game, or maybe to watch tapes of their "beloved" Maryland Terrapins or New England Patriots. Yes, I am saying all Nets fans are front runners.
-9:45 PM: Frank Williams selected by the Nuggets at 25, is he a Knick? There has been no official announcement and Vescey is nowhere to be seen.
-9:50 PM: John Salmons is selected by the Spurs, and my friend who is a Spurs fan is visibly upset. He stands up, yells "Who the hell?", then leaves.
-9:57 PM: Chris Jeffries is drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers. The life has been sucked out of my section.
-10:01 PM: Charles Barkley makes fun of Daniel Stern's white hair, and Dan Dickau is finally picked by Sacramento. The strong get stronger.
-10:11 PM: It's Russ Granik time! Yes!
-10:20 PM: Dan Gadzuric finally is selected, he is a steal here. Two picks until the Knicks can get "Smush" Parker, or so we think. -10:27 PM: Here comes Russ. Boozer just got picked, it's got to be "Smush"! It's not! It's someone who's name I can't pronounce or spell. Another point guard, damnit Layden. Damn.
-10:30 PM: I am interviewed by WFUV. Alright, I get an NYKBasketball.com plug, it airs Sunday. Hopefully it'll make the cut.
-10:33 PM: Rod Grizzard is selected. Two months ago this guy was a lottery pick and nobody's talking about it. What happened?
-10:36 PM: "Nene" walks by me in a Nuggets hat. He's been traded, this is breaking news as it has yet to be announced. I knew first, as I converse with him in broken Spanish/Portuguese/English to realize that he was just traded. He looks melancholy. Total time on Knicks, 150 minutes. Total time at draft, priceless.
-10:43 PM: Jason Jennings goes to Portland. This guy is as ugly as you can get, and he's on the Blazers. I wish I could see him the first day of training camp, and guys like ‘Sheed and Scottie just making fun out of this guy and his mullet/bowl cut hair cut.
-10:46 PM: Lonny Baxter is picked. My head officially is throbbing. Dickau is traded to Atlanta.
-10:49 PM: Sam Clancy to the 76ers. Remember before the NCAA tournament when Clancy was a sure thing lottery pick and when he was playing an away game, the opposing students started chanting "1.9" referring to his grade-point average in school. After the game, Clancy said "1.9 million" referring to how much he'd make in the NBA lottery. Sorry, Sam, this isn't even guaranteed. Ouch.
-10:51 PM: "The Czar" Mike Fratello informs the 19 people left in my general admission section that the Grizzlies will "be exciting." Thanks Mike. 19 people left in a section that probably held 90 to 100 an hour ago.
-10:55 PM: Knicks trade is announced officially by Russ, the deputy commissioner. Layden is shown on the big screen being interviewed. Absolute, sheer madness. The boos are thunderous, "A—hole" chants, incredible. Everyone hates him, I don't think it's that bad of a trade, so I wave my "Lucky 7" towel.
-11:06 PM: After Barkley tells the fans remaining "the Knicks can't get any worse", the Nuggets announce they will be holding open tryouts for their team. OPEN TRYOUTS! The Nuggets have been reduced from CBA-level to high school JV level? This is absurd, maybe Lenny Cooke will tryout, since he still hasn't been picked.
-11:11 PM: Curtis Borchardt walks by with a sad face. Since I'm practically the only person awake in my section, I yell "Hey Curtis, why the long face?" and he holds up a Jazz hat. Ouch, Curtis traded to the Jazz. NBA's Siberia. That does hurt, and I would be sad if I were him. From the beaches of Orlando to the ranches of Utah.
-11:14 PM: Corsley Edwards is drafted, and it has ended. The 50 or so people left walk down and chant various things for the NBA on TNT crew, which is doing it's last show since ESPN has bought the rights to televising NBA games. Kenny "the Jet" and EJ are class acts, while I was unimpressed with Charles, who looked tired and bored.
-11:27 PM: Our last hurrah, we are all escorted out of the Theatre. The draft has ended, now the real fun begins…

Courtesy of NYKbasketball.Com

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