7 Lessons I Learned While Posing As A Player The Night Of The NBA Draft
This past Thursday in Brooklyn, the Utah Jazz selected former Boston College student Olivier Hanlan with the 42nd pick in the second round of the NBA Draft.
A few minutes later, another former Boston College student sporting a suit and a Utah Jazz snapback walked into a bar in the East Village that was playing the draft on multiple screens and convinced everyone inside he'd been picked in the same slot.
That person was Connor Toole, a 6' 10" writer for Elite Daily who could never play in the NBA and just referred to himself in the third person.
For a few hours last week, I got to experience what life is like when people think you're famous.
It turns out, the life of an NBA player involves posing for a lot of selfies with finance interns, but that wasn't the only lesson I learned.
People assume you're famous if you're tall and wear a suit.
I showed up to the draft around 6 pm and, as soon as I got there, I crossed paths with two actual players who were being escorted into the entrance I knew I definitely couldn't bluff my way through.
When they disappeared inside, the fans realized they had nothing to photograph and quickly began to panic until they saw me: a giant person in a suit I got as part of a four-for-one sale at Men's Wearhouse.
One of them asked me if I was going to get drafted tonight, and I said "I certainly hope so."
After taking a few pictures and signing a couple of autographs (including the purple cast of a small child), I acted like my agent was calling me until my camera crew showed up to document the hysteria.
You don't need tickets when you can just ignore security.
Before the draft, I bought the cheapest and inconveniently located ticket I could find with the intention of figuring out a way to get onto the floor with the tall people who actually possess talent.
Apparently all you need to do to get onto the floor is wear a suit, stare blankly into the distance and mutter, "Sorry, excuse me" if anyone asks you for a ticket.
If you can convince three layers of security you're too important for their time, you too can finally discover the answer to the question, "What does Mason Plumlee smell like?."
There is literally no reason to go to the NBA Draft if you're not a player.
You'd think standing on the floor of the Barclays Center with a GoPro would be enough to keep your heart racing, but after the initial shock wore off, I realized you have to be an absolute masochist to actually attend it in-person.
It takes approximately one second to hear the name of the pick, and then you have to endure five minutes of the previous draftee giving canned answers to generic questions (and every few rounds, you get to see grown men fight each other for free t-shirts).
I was standing next to one of the ESPN desks and can confidentially say I would have preferred to have watched in on ESPN.
People love buying shots for people who have more money than they do.
I didn't actually get drafted, but that didn't stop me from getting handed (a very, very unofficial total of) seven shots over the course of the night.
I felt kind of guilty, but while some people might call it immoral, I think it's just as deplorable to turn down free alcohol.
For the record, I offered to pay for every single round I was given, but people were very insistent on paying for me despite the fairly sizable contract that would presumably have come with the pick.
I tried to figure out why, and I came to this conclusion...
People care about the story more than they care about the truth.
The first bar we walked into was playing the draft on four separate screens, and it didn't help that I had only been "picked" a couple of slots before.
I was using my real name the entire night, so all you had to do was either look me up or check to see if I'd actually been picked 42nd.
However, based on my experience, people were too preoccupied using their phones to take pictures with the newest member of the Utah Jazz to check and see if he actually was.
I didn't mind -- they got a great story to tell their friends, and I got one I get to use at wedding receptions when I have to talk to people I've never met before.
NBA players have a better life than you ever will.
After the video was released, I saw one person suggest it's easy for any "good looking" (their words, but I'll take it) tall guy to go out on a Thursday night and have the kind of evening I had last week.
As someone who's been out on many Thursday nights (and spent just as many inside drinking alone and watching something with Kurt Russell), I can safely say I've never been handed multiple drinks for free and gotten a phone number from someone five seconds after meeting her.
Kissing is fun.