Yesterday was my first time covering an NBA game live as a media member. It was also the first time Jabari Parker suited up for the Milwaukee Bucks after being drafted 2nd overall a few weeks ago. There can be no doubt that July 11, 2014 will forever be known as the day Jabari and I made our NBA debuts. (Oh, yeah, and another guy—some Wiggins kid—was playing for the first time as well.) Jabari and Maloney: forever linked in NBA history. Okay so maybe not, and maybe the comparisons between us stop at that point, but yesterday was still pretty damn cool.
Being a bit hesitant and cautious is my natural state, and coming out to Las Vegas to cover FANtastic NBA action for the first time didn’t alter my technique—at least not on day one. This is where it helped having fellow HPers like Andrew and Sean around—guys who’ve been through the summer league grind and know how it works—to show me the ropes. Even still, I sat back and just took in the sights and sounds of Vegas on day one. I hung out all day in my seat in the third row of the media section behind one of the baskets, doing some light work on the blog and getting tweets off—you know, pretty much what I’d be doing if I wasn’t at summer league.
Jabari, on the other hand, was the least bit hesitant. Though he struggled in the opening minutes, he was decisive and strong taking the ball to the basket. Out in transition he made a number of nice plays, including a sweet spin move after taking it coast-to-coast. While Wiggins—as is expected—looked the more athletic of the two starlets and made a few breathtaking plays, Parker wasn’t to be overlooked. He finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds, and got to the line numerous times as well, shooting 11 free throws in 29 minutes.
It wasn’t a perfect performance, but more than a few times, Jabari made plays few others on the court could have. When players like Jabari come around, there’s an aura they give off where you can tell—just from watching them for a few minutes—that they’re special. Even though it was just summer league, Jabari had that affect last night, and I think it’s safe to say he’ll bring it along once the regular season gets underway.