When Paolo Banchero’s name was called as the No. 1 pick for the Orlando Magic, it came as a surprise not only to fans but also to the majority of teams in the NBA.
Not because there were doubts of his ability, or that he was not worthy of being chosen ahead of the other two short-listed players the Magic were considering — Chet Holmgren (No. 2 Thunder) and Jabari Smith Jr., (No. 3 Rockets) — but because the Magic were so tight-lipped about their intentions.
When NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called out Banchero’s name, everyone in the basketball world found out together as the 6-foot-10, 250-pound power forward rose from his chair and headed to the stage in purple covered in specks of glitter.
For Magic fans, the questions began to swirl. Could the team’s next Shaquille O’Neal or Dwight Howard be wearing a suit you would expect from the late pop icon Prince?
Could this 19-year-old, blinged out with a P5 chain around his neck, be the awaited rebuild piece that would tip the team deep into the W-column and back into the playoff picture?
Only time will tell.
Let’s get back to that draft night suit.
Banchero said his choice to go with purple was because it is his favorite color. Even though he went to Duke, the purple was a nod to his parents and the University of Washington, where both attended college.
When asked if the rhinestones attached to his suit were real diamonds Banchero said, “No, that would have broke my pockets.”
The sparkle definitely made a statement, and chances are his pockets are beginning to fill up quickly since his draft night.
Just this week, Banchero signed a multi-year shoe deal with Jordan Brand, and he looks to be the brand’s headliner of the Air Jordan 37. That seems like a ringing endorsement for his fashion sense, and hopefully his play for the Magic.
While some here at the Orlando Sentinel were impressed with his fashion forward draft night fit, what about the rest of the team?
We also decided to dig up the rest of the Magic players in their draft night suits and had them judge one another as well.
The result is a healthy dose of praise and smack talk in the form of roasting that you would expect from your closest friends and teammates.
Some of the biggest surprises came from Cole Anthony and RJ Hampton. Both were drafted during the 2020 COVID year and were selected while they were at home.
You would think that the world sheltering in place would come with some understanding and allow them to escape criticism from fellow players. Nope, not a chance.
Hampton’s unique draft day drip turtleneck came at a cost. Terrence Ross claims he would have been better off choosing to wear a pair sweats while relaxing at home.
And Anthony’s choice to wear a T-shirt, headphones and what appears to be a robe, left plenty of question marks even though he claims it to be Dolce & Gabbana.
Magic coach Jamahl Mosley summed it up best when asked about the importance of draft night suits: “For the guys, it’s a chance to show the world who they are and their identity…and how they are going to be remembered on the big stage.”
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