My friend, his girlfriend, and I show up to Arco around 3:30 when the doors were being opened. We were happy to see that parking was free (how generous!) and were walking up to the entrance to find... a huge line. There were more people than I was expecting to be there, and though the line was moving quickly, it never seemed to get shorter with a steady stream of people adding to it as it moved along. So we jump in line behind the guy who looked just like Victorino, and was suspiciously wearing a Phillies hat, and anxiously waited to get inside and see what was going on.
Or should I say My Kings Draft Party Experience for the first 9 picks. I thought that maybe some of you were curious about the draft party, so I figured I would write a little bit about my experience there so you could get a glimpse of the excitement at Arco.
When we walk in to the arena, 3 of the 4 sides of the lower deck seating were filling up and on the floor was a vip area with tables and flat screens so they could see the game easily. We decided to sit a little on the side, and decided the jumbo-tron had the best view from where we were. Around all of the seats were paper taped to them saying what the price would be to buy season tickets, and many times the Kings guys would interrupt the ESPN feed to tell us the great deals they were offering, which were some great deals. The one that stuck out to me was mid-court seats for about $150 and if you bought them, you would get a free trip to the Vegas Summer League. If I was capable of buying season tickets, I would have jumped on that.
So after getting settled in and seeing a few ticket ads, the attention turned to the stage on the floor where numerous important Kings people showed up. First it was Geoff Petrie, whom I was surprised was not in New York, but excited he was at Arco. He came up and gave a pretty standard speech, and nothing we haven't heard before, but was really up there to tell us that he would be back out after the pick to tell us about it. So we would have to wait an hour for his words. Paul Westphal was up there with him, and pretty much reiterated what Petrie said.
Next up, the Maloofs. They seemed as excited and nervous talking in public as usual. I never realized how short they were though, especially coming up right after Petrie and Westphal, it made them look even shorter. Also, Joe was looking much healthier than I have seen him in recent days so that is good. They were talking about how excited they were about the future and how excited they were about all of us coming out, but we still had to wait until after the pick to hear anything from them, understood.
Next up, Kevin Johnson. He came in and was working on getting the crowd into it, and did a pretty good job. He asked the crowd to scream for each person they wanted to get drafted. He yelled "Wesley Johnson?" About 4 or 5 "Yeahs!" "Derrick Favors?" About 10 "Yeahs!" and a few "I supposes." "Greg Monroe?" About another 10 "Yeahs!" "De..."YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!! WHOOOOOO!!!" The place went nuts, and Johnson looked back at Petrie and said "You heard them Geoff, you know who the fans want." Then aptly turned back to us and gave my favorite line of the night, "Hey Geoff knows who you want, but last year, he didn't listen to you guys! Remember that!" More cheers because we all knew he was right.
Still some time to wait for the picks, and I'm looking around down in the VIP area to see who is around. There is some super tall guy, who from behind looked like Mega-Westphal. I kept looking until they turned around and at the same time I was thinking it, people were saying it, "I...Is that... Bill Walton?" Yes, yes it is Bill Walton. It was a surprise seeing him there, and he was surrounded by media types asking questions all night. He was also looking healthy and happy. Then I looked around hoping to see Kayte... but to no avail...sad faces all around.
Finally! "With the first pick in the 2010 NBA draft the Washington Wizards select... John Wall yada yada yada..." Nobody even paid attention. Second pick same thing. Third pick comes around, people started to pay attention. "Derrick Favors" People started to get excited. Now it was all up to Minny, oh Minny if you eff this up for us we will murder you! The tension is thick, Stern comes out (who was appropriately being booed all night) and announces the 4th pick as... "Wesley Johnson" The place erupts with joy knowing that now Geoff Petrie can pick Greg Monroe without any intervention.
So, finally we are at the fifth pick, the Kings pick, and everyone is glued to the TVs. Stern walks out (BOO!) gives his little smirk, then "With the fifth pick in the 2010 NBA draft, the Sacramento Kings Select... De... 'YAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! YAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!" The place blows up with excitement. Did this actually happen?! We really got the guy we coveted?! How could this be?! The place quiets down for his highlights and interviews, then gives him another cheer afterward.
At this point, some of the people start heading for the exits. We stayed to hear what the big guys had to say (and because my friend is a Jazz fan so we were staying through the ninth pick anyways). After maybe another pick or two, Petrie, Westphall, and the Maloofs all came out to say how excited they were. They explained how strong we are now up front and that Cousins impressed them so much in the workouts, and that he could easily be the best player in the draft this year. They went on to say they wanted to grab another great player to add with the 33rd pick. Brockman also made an appearance, and to borrow from Voisin, he was looking chiseled and defined, and you could tell he had hit the weight room, as if the sweat was still glistening off his skin... sorry I digress.
After this, the ESPN feed was pretty much only shown in snippets and we were only shown who the picks were from some projectors in the background. So the next few went by, and the ninth pick came up, and, somehow knowing my friend wanted to see it, put the feed back up to see Stern (Boo!) come back out. "With the ninth pick in the 2010 NBA draft, the Utah Jazz select..." f*ck it I don't even know, I wasn't paying attention I already heard what I wanted to hear. I think it was a small forward, my friend seemed happy with it so whatever.
We had places to be at this point, so unfortunately could not stay any longer. I would have liked to have stayed and maybe hear any more that the big guys had to say and what festivities were in store (If anyone else did please enlighten down in the comments). So we were making our way back to our car, and almost run into... the Maloofs?! They were just moseying through the parking lot talking to whomever wanted to talk. I was just surprised, so I didn't say anything, but hung around to hear my other favorite line of the night (now imagine Gavin acting like an excited 10 year-old) "Oh my God and ya, we are going to put Dalembert on Gasol, and we are going to put Cousins on Bynum, and It's going to be awesome, and oh my God!" This is for any of you who question the Maloof's enthusiasm with the Kings, and so I will leave you with that. Thanks for reading this ridiculously long post, but hopefully you found it interesting, and for the future drafts, I would recommend making the party if you can because it was a good time, and free.