Over the last few weeks I have been blogging about Ian O'Connor's book The Jump, which chronicles Sebastian Telfair's jump from high school to the NBA. Here are some great details:
The Kobe Bryant draft fiasco is amazing. According to O'Connor, then-Adidas rep. Sonny Vaccaro decided at the last minute that New Jersey wasn't a high-profile enough destination for the high-schooler they had just signed up for $10 million. So with help from his friend, Kobe's then-agent Arn Tellem, Vaccaro fooled new Nets coach John Calipari into thinking Kobe Bryant would play in Italy before he'd play for New Jersey. (Bryant says he would have.) Then Nets GM John Nash is quoted saying Calipari fell for the bluff, so they took Kerry Kittles instead. Vaccaro and Tellem arranged the deal where Charlotte would pick Bryant and trade him to Los Angeles. To appease Bryant's parents, according to John Nash and Sonny Vaccaro as quoted by O'Connor, Adidas gave Joe Bryant a $100,000 a year job. (page 188)
An anonymous Clipper official is quoted as saying that Telfair is a much better prospect ("night and day") than Shaun Livingston whom they ended up drafting. (page 255)
David Stern personally begged Sebastian Telfair to accept a late invite to the green room at the 2004 draft, but Telfair declined out of fear he wouldn't be drafted high and would be embarrassed on TV. (page 280)
When Net President Rod Thorn traded the 22nd pick to Portland that same night, he asked a favor of Portland GM John Nash who had the the 13th, 22nd, and 23rd picks: if you are going to pick Telfair with the 22nd pick, please take him with the 23rd instead, so I won't go down as the guy who traded the local hero. Portland ended up picking Telfair with the 13th pick. (page 294)
Sonny Vaccaro says not one high-schooler from the 2005 class is NBA ready. He's taunting you Martell Webster. (page 192)
There was a whole controversy involving Telfair's brother, for whom Sebastian doesn't post bail even after he's rich with sneaker dollars.(page 282)
Sebastian Telfair travels with a frayed bible. (page 275)
In the state title game his senior year, tough defense made Telfair cough up ten turnovers. In a short game, against high-school competition. From a player whose strength is ball-handling, quickness, and passing. (page 239) In the city title game the year before, his team won without him. (page 175)
Dwight Howard wants to make the crucifix part of the NBA logo. (page 174)
No one hates Sebastian Telfair more than the family of Darius Washington Jr. (page 98) He's the guy who missed the free throws that would have taken Memphis to the NCAA tournament last year. Small world: the aforementioned Coach Calipari coaches Washington, and in that game they lost to Rick Pitino's Louisville, the school Telfair committed to before going to the NBA instead.
A Georgia Tech booster allegedly offered Telfair $250,000 to go there. (page 172) Stephon Marbury went there. Hmm...
Telfair will be playing with two Russians this year as a Blazer, and it's nothing new to him. One of his best high-school teammates was Russian Yuriy Matsakov. (page 72)