Horace Grant to represent the Bulls at the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery

"I'm honored the Bulls chose me to represent the organization because I also feel I've had a lot of luck in my life, especially in 1987 when the Bulls picked me in the draft."
by Sam Smith

Body

Grant hopes to bring some luck as the Bulls representative at the 2019 NBA Draft Lottery

The Bulls hope their future starts coming more clearly into focus May 14 with the NBA draft lottery.

Forget, for now, Rose-colored glasses, which the Bulls were able to peer through in 2008 when they made the providential jump from the ninth best odds to the No. 1 pick and future league MVP Derrick Rose.

So the Bulls this time will take a look through the most famous prescription goggles in franchise history, those belonging to Horace Grant.

"I'm honored the Bulls chose me to represent the organization because I also feel I've had a lot of luck in my life, especially in 1987 when the Bulls picked me in the draft."

Horace Grant

Grant, who won three championships with the Bulls from 1991-1993 as part of the Big Three with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and now is a team ambassador, will represent the Bulls for the televised drawing from Chicago at 7:30 p.m. And Grant will bring with him his famous goggles that gave him, at least, a clear look at the future.

"I'm bringing my goggles," said Grant, "because my first year and a half playing I was blind and basically when I started wearing my goggles we started winning championships."

Grant came out of Augusta, Georgia to become something of a master at power forward as he played his first seven seasons with the Bulls, became an All-Star and also won a championship with the Lakers in 2001. He also played for Orlando and Seattle before retiring back with the Lakers and Phil Jackson in 2004. He worked for the NBA before joining the Bulls as an ambassador and special assistant in 2016.

Horace Grant is all smiles during a game

Horace Grant is all smiles during a game

Grant considers himself to be lucky, both the product of hard work and being around when good things happen. Perhaps again May 14.

"I know this is an important day for the Bulls moving forward," Grant said. "It would be amazing to get the top pick to add to the really good group of young players the Bulls have. I'm very excited about the team.

"I'm honored the Bulls chose me to represent the organization because I also feel I've had a lot of luck in my life, especially in 1987 when the Bulls picked me in the draft," Grant said. "It was tough at first, but to play with players like my friend Scottie and Michael, though he could be tough on me sometimes, and for Phil Jackson and guys like Pax (John Paxson) and Bill Cartwright, it was like a dream come true when I look back. I was so lucky to be picked by the Bulls.

"It was one of my luckiest days when they picked me instead of Joe Wolf," Grant added with a laugh.

A young Horace Grant playing for Clemson University

A young Horace Grant playing for Clemson University

That was the famous story of draft day in 1987 when General Manager Jerry Krause was being lobbied hard by one of his idols, North Carolina coach Dean Smith, to select Wolf, who ended up going 13th and had a modest career as a role playing journeyman. Then coach Doug Collins and his assistants lobbied hard for Grant and Krause eventually agreed in the same draft with Pippen that became the foundation for the first three championships.

Grant said he's also going to try to do some reaching out to cover as many bases as possible to help his and the team's luck on the fateful Tuesday.

Grant said he plans to try to contact former team vice-president Steve Schanwald and Thelma Krause, the widow on former executive Jerry. It was Krause on the stage for the 1999 drawing when the Bulls for the first time won the right to the first pick. When then deputy commissioner Russ Granik announced the Clippers as No. 2, Krause did a two handed fist pump in celebration realizing the Bulls got the top spot. The Bulls went on to select Elton Brand with the No. 1 pick. And though the Bulls didn't make the playoffs the next two seasons, Brand averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds both seasons and was co-rookie of the year in 2000.

Steve Schanwald celebrates the Bulls receiving the number one pick in the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery

Steve Schanwald celebrates the Bulls receiving the number one pick in the 2008 NBA Draft Lottery

In 2008, it was Schanwald representing the Bulls. Then deputy commissioner Adam Silver revealed the selections. Miami, Minnesota represented by then executive Fred Hoiberg, and Schanwald stood aside for the drawing for the last three picks. When No. 2 was announced for Miami represented by Dwyane Wade, Schanwald gasped and immediately received a congratulatory hand shake from Hoiberg, who would go on to coach both Rose and Wade for the Bulls.

Grant said he might try to find out a little bit about their magic.

When the Bulls won the lottery in 1999, they moved up from third and in 2008 from nine. In 2000, they dropped from two to four and in 2001 from worst record to fourth, as far as possible at the time. In 2002, they stayed at two and in 2003 stayed at seven.

"I'm bringing my goggles because my first year and a half playing I was blind and basically when I started wearing my goggles we started winning championships."

Horace Grant

Grant also said he will carry with him pictures of his children. "Those were lucky days," he says.

Perhaps it also will be a day when the Bulls franchise is reborn.

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