At the beginning of spring, which of course is MLB Opening Day and The Master’s, I laid out my alternative holiday calendar. Ultimately, all the holidays, except Thanksgiving of course, move around to new dates because sports, quite frankly, are the most important thing on earth.
With the NBA Draft happening, I realized something. Professional sports leagues’ drafts are just the birthday of a sports fan. Whether you are a die-hard fan of the NBA, NFL, or anything in between, the draft is the day to celebrate the fact that you are a fan of an NBA franchise for its legacy and its future. Birthdays are important for a few main reasons. For starters, your birth. Without being born, it would be impossible to have a birthday. Also, gifts. Gifts are really cool, except for when they kinda suck. Finally, the gift’s staying power, or how it looks a few years after getting it.
Sometimes, a draft is when you truly start to be a fan of a team. For example, consider the Sixers’ number one selection of Allen Iverson in 1996. If you go to the Sixers Wikipedia page, the time between 1992 and 1996 (after Barkley and before AI) is known as “The Dark Age.” Morale was low and the city’s franchise was struggling. But, the selection of the electric prospect out of Georgetown gave birth to a whole generation of Sixers fans that was absolutely ravenous. Allen Iverson is a Philadelphia legend.
Next: gifts. This should be obvious as the selections themselves are the gifts. When you get gifts, though, there is an initial reaction. As a Sixers fan myself, Sixers examples are the best I can give. Both last year and this year with the number one picks, we have received two of the most exciting prospects in years in Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz. Hearing the names of these guys called as a fan is exactly like my eighth birthday when I received a GameBoy Advance SP. You know, the one that flipped up out of its square shape. This year also happened to be the year Nintendo released the special edition black one. That thing was bad ass.
On the flip side, some gifts aren’t that great. I don’t know this feeling because my mom kicks ass at gifts, but think of that first year when you start to get older and the first gift bag you open just has socks in it. Socks are cool and all, and you’ll probably get some good use out of them, but is that really what you want on your birthday? Of course not. You just turned 16 you’re not getting screwed by the corporate machine in the face of your midlife crisis yet. As a Sixers fan, this is like when we got Jahlil Okafor at 3 in 2015.
Finally: staying power. Every gift has an initial reaction, but what’s more important is how that gift is holding up in 3-5 years. For example, remember when the Rip Stick was all the rage? You looked out your window and the all the cool kids were having seizures so they could travel at roughly 2 miles per hour? Yeah so that gift was hot for about a year. A year later, was there anyone riding a Rip Stick? No. Because they are fucking weird. This is basically everyone selected in the lottery of the 2013 NBA draft not named Otto Porter or C.J. McCollum.
Other times, you open the gift and think “what the fuck,” but it turns out to be absolutely dope in like 2 or 3 years. For example, imagine for one birthday you got a DVD copy of Nacho Libre. For those of you that have not seen Nacho Libre, I am extremely sorry for you. If you can not access it, then hit me up and my dad, my brother and me will recite it for you line for line. On your birthday, you popped it in your DVD, plopped down with a taco to set the mood and were already thinking “what the fuck is this?” a half hour in. But the more you watched the movie, the more you loved it. Now, it is one of your five all-time favorite movies. A good draft example of this is Kristaps Porzingis. Remember how he was booed on draft night? Yeah, the only people that are going to boo him now are opposing fans.
In summary, the draft is just your sports alternative calendar birthday. Mine is the NBA Draft. Today is my birthday.