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Players recall the day they joined the NBA
Remembering Draft Day

1982: First Round, No. 1
Los Angeles Lakers

"Back in 1982, when I was drafted, I didn't actually attend the draft. I had a professor who wouldn't let me out of an exam in summer school so that was my excuse for not going.

But I remember distinctively being in Chapel Hill, NC in the office of Coach Dean Smith and getting the call from then-Commissioner Larry O'Brien, who announced that I was the first pick to the Los Angeles Lakers. I didn't really have a clue. I had just wanted to be in the NBA, so it didn't really matter. As it turned out, 12 years later with three championships, MVP in one of those, seven All-Star Games ...

But it was a monumental moment to be drafted into the NBA, a dream come true. I really wasn't overwhelmed until I came to LA. But the moment itself, being No. 1, with all the great players that were in that class, it was quite exciting."

1986: First Round, No. 8
Cleveland Cavaliers

"1986! I stayed at home in 1986. I wanted to be with my family. So I stayed home. It was a fun day, a day you looked forward to. But it was a long time ago, it seemed like. I found out watching TV that day -- I didn't even get a phone call. I was very excited. This was the time that you could go be a man now. It was a great experience."

1987: First Round, No. 10
Chicago Bulls

"I was very nervous. My agent at the time told me I was going maybe from third to 10th. And I went 10th. I got drafted by the Bulls. It was a great relief and a great situation for me. I was present yes, just being nervous. After the first nine went, I thought 'wow' and started to sweat a little bit. But I just felt fortunate that I got drafted.

"I hadn't heard much about Chicago. The only thing I knew was that it was windy and cold. But I didn't realize how cold it was until I got there. Wow. The wind ⦠I know why they call it the Windy City. You walk downtown and if you don't hold on to something, you will get blown over."

1990: First Round, No. 11
Golden State Warriors

"It was exciting. It was a dream come true, one of those things where when you work so hard and you go to college for four years and when you were a little kid, you dream of playing on the same court as Magic and Bird. Now that day has come and the reality is there so it was definitely very exciting for me and my family.

"I wasn't there. I was at home with my family. I was excited about it, but I was also sad because I was going away, 3,000 miles away from home."

1993: First Round, No. 12
Los Angeles Lakers

"I stayed back in Chapel Hill to be with my family, so I wasn't really there to go through the sweat. I knew about where I was going to go. At the time, it was between nine and 15 and I was drafted at 12 by the Los Angeles Lakers. It was a great experience. There wasn't really too much pressure because I just wanted to play in the league. I didn't want to be the No. 1 pick or anything. I just wanted to be drafted."

1996: First Round, No. 26
Detroit Pistons

"For me, I think just waiting in that green room for that many hours, I was feeling like I shouldn't have been invited. I just should have been at home watching it on TV, getting the call that let me know if I got drafted or not.

"Not knowing the situation, because I worked out for like 10 different teams, I didn't fall in the draft where people told me I was going to fall. Everybody knows the draft isn't a promise. But at the same time, if you don't know and they're inviting you to the draft, saying you're anywhere from a lottery to this point in the draft and it's passed that point about an hour ago, you're asking yourself, 'What am I doing here? Is this a practical joke?' It was just one of those things where you build on it. Of course you get over it -- it's not something that cripples you for life, but it's something that goes into the back of your head. At this point, I remember all the teams that passed me up.

"It really doesn't matter where you start, it's how you end up. That's my advice to all the kids. When I look at the draft back then, everybody that was drafted before me is either a franchise player at this point or a player that's not even around. So I think that's good and bad company to be a part of. I'm just glad I'm part of the company that's still out there doing their jobs. In the playoffs. Making big plays."

1998: First Round, No. 4
Toronto Raptors

"Oh man, it was like a dream come true because as a kid, that was the ultimate dream, to play in the NBA. Watching the draft a numerous amount of years and finally getting the opportunity to participate, getting to go up there and shake David Stern's hand has probably been one of the highest achievements so far in my life. It's one of those things you'll always remember for the rest of your life. Like I said, it was a dream come true.

"I kind of knew that I wasn't going to be playing in Toronto. I didn't work out for them so once Toronto picked me up, I knew I was getting traded. I just didn't know where I was going. So I was sitting at the table and they called my name and my family was like, 'what's going on? We didn't know he was going there.' I kind of knew I was being traded, but like I said, it didn't matter where I was going, as long as I knew I was accepted in the NBA and that I was going to get to play in the NBA."

1998: First Round, No. 23
Los Angeles Lakers

"I stayed at home to watch it with a few family members and friends. I just remember being nervous, waiting for each pick on down to 23. I remember a couple other times, a couple of the players' names started with "D" and I was like, "Ahh ..." It was really exciting and once I was drafted, it was one of the happiest days because I had put so much work and time into it, trying to get drafted.

"That was the first time when I saw it on TV. They had called my agent before they drafted me, but he didn't call me. He just let me go through and see it on TV. I was really excited. I'm glad I stayed at home and enjoyed it with my family and friends instead of being there at the Draft."

1999: Second Round, No. 47
Philadelphia 76ers

"You know everyone wants to be a nice high draft pick and sometimes the numbers don't work out that way, but if you look back on it and you're a second-round pick for the Philadelphia 76ers two years before you go into the Finals, you're thinking, "hmmm." I knew I was going to a good organization. I didn't know we were going to get here as quickly as we did. I probably should have known. I knew we had a great coach, a great star in Allen Iverson and I knew we had a great gym. That's about all I knew about this team. I didn't know we had all the pieces to get here so quickly. So I wouldn't change what happened.

"You hear things about the East Coast, but my wife and I had an outlook that we were going to go wherever we were drafted. This is a great opportunity to play in this league no matter where it is. You're going to find good in any city and it's easy to find good in this city."

2000: First Round, No. 29
Los Angeles Lakers

"The three months leading up to the draft were the most emotionally charged of my life, I think, the three MONTHS. Because you'd have a good workout and everyone would say your stock's going up, then you'd miss a couple shots and everyone would say your stock's going down. You read the stuff that people were saying about the draft, all the analysis. It's an emotional roller coaster.

"A lot of guys have different reactions about cities. Some guys refuse to work out for certain teams because they just don't like the city. But I was of the opinion that I'd live anywhere, because I just love basketball. Playing in the NBA, I mean, who wouldn't want to do that?

"I stayed at home. I had a little get-together with close friends and family. The Blazers picked 28th and after that pick, John Black (PR director) of the Lakers called me and said, 'We're taking you Mark.' So I came back into the TV room and my family was like, 'Who was that?' And I said, 'Man, I have no idea.' So I knew. I'd grown up watching the draft and I had heard David Stern say like, 'With the 13th pick in the draft, the Seattle SuperSonics select ... ' and it was just cool to hear my name. To hear David Stern my name."

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