Oct. 20, 2004
I love checking out rookies in the preseason and seeing the new faces in the NBA. It's interesting to see how they're adjusting to the new situation against physical veterans who try to push the youngsters around and challenge them.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Emeka Okafor fares with the Charlotte Bobcats. The former Connecticut Huskies star is not surrounded by the kind of talent you'd like to see a young star enjoy. Okafor will be a factor blocking shots and grabbing rebounds, plus he'll be a better scorer on the interior than most people realize.
I'm looking forward to seeing how Emeka Okafor fares with the Bobcats.
I can't wait to see how high school phenom Dwight Howard fares down in Orlando. Did the Magic make the right move or should the team have chosen Okafor? Only time will tell, but Howard has already made a positive impression with several solid early performances this preseason.
It will be interesting to see how some of the other high schoolers perform and what impact they will have. J.R. Smith recently had a big scoring performance in a preseason outing.
One person who has had a major impact in the NBA is commissioner David Stern. He's a PTPer, a prime time performer, and a marketing genius. What a brilliant move he made recently when he brought Yao Ming back to play in a couple of exhibition games in China. Watching it on TV, you would have thought the Beatles had arrived!
Then, to implement the NBA's reading program in China was a stroke of genius as well. Stern is one of the great commissioners of all time because of his vision. He understands things that work. If only the players who donned an NBA uniform would follow his pattern and do the right thing, the opportunities in marketing would be even more amazing.
Stern hit a grand slam in the international marketplace again.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.