The gym at Farleigh Dickenson University was fantastic. This was another first-class event put on by the NBA and Panini. There were so many more rooms that I’m not sure I saw them all but I will report on what I saw.
- The most guarded room had a track camera and a gigantic wood build. I’m sure they used it for action shots. I only have a shot of it with no players in it. It was pretty much sealed up. The pop-a-shot door was mostly closed. I can’t wait to see those pics. The biggest build was a lightroom that saw players holding a white basketball like Coby White of the Chicago Bulls. The 360 machine was there and there was a throne players sat in. One area had smoke, and another had colored lights. The cards they get will be fantastic.
- Zion Williamson was not only the first overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans but he was the busiest player there. He never sat for more than a minute at a time. I only caught him at a few booths, and he switched jerseys at one point. Other than that, it was hard to keep track of the big guy.
- The Minnesota Timberwolves got a great player in Jarrett Culver but they got a very down to earth, humble athlete, who is the kind of player who can be the face of the franchise. He’s the kind of player that fans will root for. I’m sure they did at Texas Tech and they would have in Phoenix if they didn’t trade him. They might regret that trade down the road.
- Manute Bol’s son, Bol, was hard to miss. He was having fun. He has a good three-point shot, something his dad didn’t, but at 7-3 he’s something to watch. At one point he was playing with some kids and this kid scored on him! I think this lad will be telling this story for a long time to come. Will he ever score on a 7-3 NBA player ever again? Probably not.
- Mfiondu Kabengele is a competitor. He’s on the LA Clippers and he’s thrilled about being in that market and what can happen between the Clippers and the Lakers in the future. LeBron James gets most of the ink in that town but this kid might grab a few headlines when it’s all said and done.
“Some people are behind you. For me getting drafted it wasn’t just about me. I feel like my whole support system we all got drafted that day, so it was a good feeling,” said Kabengele. “Very bright. A lot of championships. A lot of success. I just want to contribute right away and be a valued piece for my team. We have to take care of us. The Lakers have a storied franchise and the respect.”
This guy wants to win. On this day they’re all winners and they all got to enjoy each other’s’ company one more time before they embark on their NBA careers.