Tuesday on PTI, the lead story was about the upcoming NBA draft. The consensus is that either Oden or Kevin Durant will be taken first overall, and according to PTI hosts Wilbon & Kornheiser the Portland Trailblazers are uncertain who they’ll take with the first pick. This draft is thought to be the deepest one is years which makes it a special time in sports history, one that we can look back on and say “I remember when …” For instance, someone who witnessed the 1984 draft can say that they saw four future Hall of Famers (Olajuwon, Jordan, Barkley, and Stockton) get drafted, in addition to talented players like Otis Thorpe, Kevin Willis, Sam Perkins, Michael Cage, and Alvin Robinson.
Speaking of the 1984 NBA draft, the good folks at Da Capo Press were kind enough to send me a copy of Filip Bondy’s new book. In Tip Off, Bondy sends us back in time with as much behind the scenes information as possible. The book moves at a meticulous pace, as each chapter centers around one person. We get to experience the draft from the perspective of the draftees as well as the front office people that are making the decisions. In a fresh departure from today’s obnoxious sports talk, Bondy doesn’t pass judgment on the characters. Everyone from Bobby Knight to Charles Barkley is presented as human beings trying to do their best given the circumstances of the day. Even the Portland Trailblazers, typically vilified for passing on Jordan, are portrayed as sympathetic players who don’t have the liberty of foresight.
Filip Bondy gives a factual and evenhanded look back at everyone involved. Tip Off lacks any sensationalism; the stories make the book so intriguing. For instance the book talks about Bulls briefly considered trading the #3 pick to Houston for Ralph Sampson, Charles Barkley using the Olympic tryouts as a springboard to a better draft spot, and Michael Jordan’s fierce competitiveness developing even in college. If you’re itching for NBA action during the offseason or are just curious what goes on behind the scenes in the draft, Tip Off should be on your summer reading list.