We’ve done the basketballs. We’ve done the bobbleheads, We’ve done the funky sneakers with an indescribable smell that cost a great number of chicken sandwiches because once upon a time some dude wore them in some game where the three-point line and the alley-oop were as unimaginable as a competent New York Knicks front office. But today we’re venturing into a new arena.
NBA Draft swag.
Yes, it’s out there. And we may just find the piece that will pull your already bizarre collection of NBA ephemera together. The 2020 NBA Draft will be held in just under a month. Get in the mood with one of these pieces.
This one is cool on a couple of different levels. There were not many people at the 1996 NBA Draft with the resume of Rick Lighton. Lighton was an artist. After earning his Master’s Degree in Education from Michigan State University he embarked on a long and fruitful career painting action portraits from some of the NBA’s biggest names. Shaq, Michael Jordan, Dr. J, and the list goes on. Waiting lists for Lighton’s work grew, and his pieces sold for thousands of dollars. In a 2002 interview Lighton remarked on his career.
“I attend games anyway and I can call it work. If you can call that work, life can’t get much better than that.”
Mr. Lighton passed away last April at the age of 67. This piece from his estate can be had for around $30, after shipping.
Once upon a time, the Golden State Warriors were an average to below average franchise. But man, they were fun. Fans of a certain age, that is my age, have fond memories of the Run TMC teams (there were only two) that scored a lot of points that did not translate into a lot of wins. A couple of years after that trio broke up, Golden State put together a 34-win campaign, good enough for the number three overall pick in the 1993 NBA Draft.
The top-pick went to Orlando who selected Chris Webber out of Michigan. Minutes later the Warriors went with Anfernee Hardaway from Memphis. A blockbuster trade ensued and Webber was sent to Golden State with three, THREE future first-round picks for Penny.
We’ve all wondered what the NBA landscape would have looked like had that trade not bee executed. And if you have not, you’re probably significantly younger. But at least you learned something.
Grab this button from a memorable night for a pair of franchises for $33 after shipping.
1993 Suns Draft: Malcolm Mackey, Mark Buford, Byron Wilson
Well, this was good timing.
Perhaps there were Boston Celtics NBA Draft celebration shirts for the prior year. But that wasn’t as joyous of an occasion. Boston selected Chauncy Billups third overall, but the bigger story was missing out on the Tim Duncan sweepstakes. Maybe there was a shirt for 1999, but that makes even less sense. The selects had one pick in the draft, 55th overall, and burned it on Kris Clack, a Texas guard who never appeared in an NBA game.
The 1998 draft went well for Boston, though. They used the 10th pick to snag Paul Pierce who put together an ok career for the C’s. At 11 the Portland Trail Blazers went with Bonzi Wells from Ball State. That’s notable because this author graduated from Ball State, and he takes every opportunity to talk about Ball State.
1998 Suns Draft: No picks
In a world where there are too many NBA Draft after parties to choose from this was “the premier after party of the NBA Draft.” T-Mobile said so.
This would be an easy thing to dismiss were it not actually printed on a piece of wood. Even more curious is that it comes with a specially designed package. So, it’s something. How much of something, I have no idea. I can’t think they made a great deal of these, though.
If you want to throw on some headphones, treat yourself to the musical stylings of DJ Jus Ske and reminisce about the 2006 NBA Draft that was, you can do so for $55 after shipping.
2006 Suns Draft: Rajon Rondo, Sergio Rodriguez
Do you need a reminder of one of the biggest busts in the history of the Association? Of course you do. And you’re lucky. And the price is right. I think.
This seller out of Wisconsin is willing to part with a ticket from the 2013 NBA Draft signed by none other than top pick Anthony Bennett from UNLV. The Cavs selection of Bennett was a stunner. He had played a single season with the Rebels. While he was expected to be a lottery pick, few anticipated his would be the first name called.
But called it was. To date he has played a grand total of 151 games in the NBA. After Cleveland he made stops in Minnesota, Toronto, and Brooklyn. His last NBA action was in January of 2017.
If this is it for Bennett, and it very well may be, he’ll close his NBA career with averages of 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Memorialize the strange time in league history for $89 after shipping.
2013 Suns Draft: Alex Len, Nemanja Nedovic, Alex Oriakhi