NBA Draft in Perspective
Mike Wise is rather bemused that eight players who had never set foot on a college campus were chosen ahead of Jameer Nelson, the consensus national college player of the year, in last night’s NBA draft. Perhaps unintentionally, though, he puts things into perspective:
You wanted the father of Jameer Nelson to buy into the plot, to discredit the warped system that allowed all those uppity young kids to make more money than his mature son. But Floyd Nelson would not go there.
All he could talk about was the little boy who used to shoot hoops in his underwear in the family living room, shooting into some makeshift Nerf hoop until his father told him to go to bed.
“I could knock the kid who got all that money for a shoe deal, all the other players taken ahead of Jameer, but what’s the point?” Floyd said. “My boy got drafted today. This is the greatest moment in my life.”
Jameer’s father was drafted once, too, about 35 years ago. The U.S. Marine Corps needed his help in Vietnam, so he went.
He served in the Marines’ Second Division, “Ecko 29 — hell in a helmet, that was us,” Floyd Nelson said. “I was shot in the leg.”
“I never had no parade when I came back,” he said. “So, tonight, this is my parade. Seeing my boy drafted is my parade.”
The Marine Corps is a fine outfit, to be sure, but I’d rather get drafted by the Denver Nuggets. And if 18 is old enough to go to Vietnam, one suspects it’s old enough to play pro basketball.