Thursday, June 24, 2010

NBA Draft: Happy Birthday, Brother

It's my brother's birthday today, so happy birthday to him. That his birthday coincides this year with the NBA Draft reminds me of a story from 17 years ago:

On the day of the 1993 NBA Draft, I was home from college for the summer and my brother was a rising high school senior.

We shared a room -- we always did, which I highly recommend for parents raising sibling brothers, even if you have the room in your house for each kid to have their own room. (I can't speak for sibling sisters, but hopefully someone else can.)

That night, the Bullets drafted Calbert Cheaney, and I thought the guy was going to be a superstar. (Yes, really. I thought he was going to be a pure-shooting 2-guard with the size and skills to dominate. Yes, really.)

I was sure of this. So sure that I wanted to tell Bullets fans everywhere.

And so I called into Ken Beatrice's nighttime sports-radio show. I waited on hold for at least an hour to get my turn.

I then got on the air and proclaimed that Cheaney would not only be a star, but had the potential to be "the next Michael Jordan." (Yes, really. Don't ask. Yes, I regret saying it.)

Here's the thing: My brother taped the call. And, for years, it gave him no end of entertainment. For the the little brother of a would-be sports pundit, it was the ultimate trump card.

We both believe that it is still in our room somewhere, buried in a box of cassette tapes. I have no idea how we will listen to them to find it -- there is an old boom box in the room, but neither of us ever are home long enough to sift through the tapes to find it.

As an artifact of my youth, it is probably worth looking. (Pretty good foreshadowing of my future career as a superlative-spewing sports pundit!)

Then again, the public claim was so preposterous that it is probably best left buried in history.

Happy birthday, Mark.

-- D.S.

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