By Anthony Bennett, for NBA.com
A Draft Dream
I was extremely excited – and a little bit shocked – when I heard my name called as the first pick in the 2013 NBA Draft! Before the Draft, a lot of people were saying there wasn’t a clear choice for the first pick. I heard I could have been drafted third, fourth, maybe sixth, seventh or eighth. So when I heard my name called as the number one pick, it was crazy!
I was sitting at the table with my mom, brother, nephew, agent and best friend, and everybody was so excited and happy…especially my mom. She was in shock and couldn’t even speak; she was just smiling and screaming! There also was a big group of my friends and family who drove in from my hometown of Toronto (about a 10-hour drive) watching from the stands. When I was on the stage, I could see and hear all of them standing up and cheering! I’ll tell you, there was a decent sized section of Canadians out there in the crowd! It was a huge moment for me to shake David Stern’s hand, especially since it was the last time he would be announcing the Draft picks.
My phone started blowing up right away, but I didn’t get a chance to look at it until after I spoke with the media. By that time, my mom came out of her shock and told me she was really proud of me and to keep working hard. As for the rest of the night, we just chilled because I had to catch a flight to Cleveland the next morning.
The whole experience of the Draft was truly unbelievable!
The day after the draft I flew on the Cavaliers’ private jet to Cleveland for the team’s press conference. While there, I had a chance to talk to Mike Brown. He was really cool. I actually met him when I was in Cleveland for a few days, right before the Draft. He expressed how excited he was and said he can’t wait for the season to get going. I also saw my new teammate Tristan Thompson; he came by the gym to say congratulations. The rest of the team was either back home or working out elsewhere. People told me that a couple of my teammates tried to hit me up on Twitter, but it was such a crazy day for me, I didn’t get a chance to see it for myself.
After being in Cleveland for the day I had a chance to go home to Toronto for a little bit. I had a huge barbecue with all my friends and family there. It was actually on July 1, which is Canada Day. Since we had a feeling a lot of people would come, we decided to host it at a local school. It was a great event and I was really happy people came by to hang out and celebrate.
Back In Business
I’m in Cleveland now, and I have started my rehab again at the practice facility here. My rehab regimen is not just focusing on my shoulder, but it is also centered on my legs, cardio, and putting up shots. I’m starting to shoot during workouts – but not too much – just to get the motion back. I’m shooting pretty well, and my arm isn’t getting tired. The trainers say my shoulder is looking good and I’ve heard multiple times that I should be playing by the first week in August. I am anxiously awaiting the day when I can get back on that court!
I’ve only been back in Cleveland for a few days, but everywhere I go, fans are showing me a lot of love and asking for my autograph. It’s cool, there’s a lot of fan support here. I went downtown a couple times to walk around and explore a little bit, and I got a chance to catch that Kevin Hart movie “Let Me Explain.”
Next up, I leave for Las Vegas on the 17th for the NBA Summer League. I’m going to watch the games, and afterward I plan on staying out there for a few days to chill out and see some of my friends from UNLV.
I’m also really excited to get a new house! Right now, I’m living in a hotel until I find a place, but I’m going house hunting this week. I don’t really know what I’m looking for, but I’m open to the experience. I’m definitely trying to find a house with enough space so that my mom can come down whenever she wants to visit. I think by the time I get back from Vegas, I should be settled and living in my new house!
It’s really crazy. Coming from a small house, basically in the hood, now I can just live life more comfortably and without any regrets. I can support my family. This all something that every kid works for…I’m so happy!
Check me out on Twitter at @anthonybennett. It’s going to be a busy summer, and I’ll be tweeting about it!