Sacre, Davis, Rivers talk on their NBA start

August, 21, 2012
8/21/12
2:37
PM ET
MeetingLynn HoppesAbout 40 NBA rookies were in Tarrytown, N.Y., on Tuesday afternoon for a major photo shoot.
TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Robert Sacre was the final pick of June's NBA draft, No. 60 to the Los Angeles Lakers.

As an incoming center, the 7-foot, 260-pound Sacre -- who played for the Canadian national team -- was even expecting to receive some decent minutes down low.

[+] EnlargeRobert Sacre
Lynn HoppesRobert Sacre showed up on Tuesday without a number. Dwight Howard had taken his No. 12.
Then the Lakers traded for superstar Dwight Howard.

And all things changed for Sacre -- including his uniform number.

Sacre, who averaged about 11 points and six rebounds at Gonzaga, showed up at the 2012 NBA rookie photo shoot on Tuesday with no number on his jersey.

"Dwight took my No. 12 that I was wearing in the Summer League. I can't argue with that. That's what happens when you have seniority," said Sacre, who has agreed to switch to No. 6 for the Lakers. "I'm OK with all of this. I just want to get back on the court."

That was the sentiment of the 40 or so rookies who were moving from photo station to photo station on a basketball court 30 minutes north of New York City for the annual Panini America trading cards event. Music was blaring. There was a NBA video game center set up. And there were more than 30 media members sticking microphones in the rookies' faces.

"This is one of the biggest events on our calendar," said Jason Howarth, vice president of marketing for Panini America, the exclusive trading card partner of the NBA the past four years. "We try to keep it a calm, comfortable vibe to keep these guys loose. This is what you do when you're in New York."

Lisa Goldberg, vice president of licensing for the NBA, said the six-hour event also creates excitement for the players, who were wearing their NBA uniforms for the first time.

"It's a great way for them to get ready for the season," Goldberg said. "Training camps are going to open up shortly, and it's going to become a reality that they are going to be NBA players, stepping foot on that court."

[+] EnlargeNBA Survey
Lynn HoppesSeveral NBA players look over a survey by NBA.com and try to compare answers.
Goldberg said it's also a reunion for a lot of the players who might have attended the same college or played in summer leagues.

That's what Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers both said. Davis was taken No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Hornets, while Rivers went 10th the Hornets.

"It's really fun just joking around with all these guys who are in my rookie class," Davis said. "I love taking these pictures and connecting with everyone. It seems like old times."

Rivers said the day was fun, but it's still not the same as getting on the court to play a real game.

"It won't be real for me until that [first] tipoff," Rivers said. "I'm glad we're all here. It's like a fraternity. But I'm really excited to get back on the court."

And Sacre said he knows he'll get his number when he heads to Los Angeles to start training camp in a few weeks.

"I kind of feel old because there are so many underclassmen here," said Sacre, 23. "But there is nothing they do that I do differently. It's just basketball."

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