The NBA promotes itself as a place where amazing happens, provided that amazing doesn't involve a former Ohio State basketball manager finagling a spot as one of the players drafted in June.
Mark "The Shark" Titus, Buckeye benchwarmer and proflific blogger, decided to have some fun in April. He sent a letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern announcing his intention to forego his senior season and enter the NBA Draft. His tongue was clearly planted in his cheek while penning his announcement.
P.S.- If I get drafted by a team that has #34 retired or someone already wearing it, you should let my be the first player to have a three digit jersey number. I’m thinking I’ll be number 114, so the back of my jersey will read “Titus 114”, which is a Bible verse that says, “Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” What’s that? You’re Jewish? Yeah, we can scrap that idea then I guess.
The NBA, however, didn't react with quite as much good humor to The Shark's missive. OSU's Director of Basketball Operations asked to see Titus and relayed a message from NBA HQ. They feared Titus was making a mockery of the draft process and asked that he take his name out of consideration. It didn't end there, however.
The NBA had called back and this time they demanded I pull my name out “or else.” I assume the “or else” meant they were going to make me do an NBA Catalog commercial like Larry Bird did in 1987. Despite the fact that I would have loved nothing more than to do a similar commercial, I realized that maybe the NBA isn’t an organization to be messed with and I pulled my name out.
The NBA let Isiah Thomas run the Knicks for years, they let the Clippers run through lottery after lottery unabated and they let the Blazers pick Sam Bowie ahead of Michael Jordan, but Titus is the guy making a mockery?
There's no way the NBA goes to these lengths to keep out the dozens of other early entry candidates with no shot of getting selected during the draft. This would have gone unnoticed by all but the readers of Titus' blog, but the NBA's letter has drawn our attention as well as that of Sports By Brooks and SI.com. So now it's a story and a reason to poke fun at the priggishness of the NBA.
Here's an unsolicited idea for the NBA brass. Allow Titus to stay in the draft and invite him to the draft to blog about the experience. It would be a look behind the scenes at one of their biggest nights, handled by a funny, talented writer who clearly loves basketball. That couldn't wind up being more of a mockery than some of the suits worn by real draftees.