He only really understood this when he saw his new home, the Amway Center, what has really happened to him in the last few hours. Paolo Banchero entered a centrifuge that led him to be the absolute first choice in the Draft, to be the guest of the most important broadcast of the US TV in the morning. And then to fly from New York to Orlando to start his new life. The one as a star of the Magic, with the number 5, the number of him. “It’s a great day for our team” is the welcome from Jeff Weltmann, the plenipotentiary of the Magic.
Paolo left in the closet the purple Dolce & Gabbana dress that he showed off on the Draft stage for his first press conference in Orlando. He has a less flashy black suit but the same confidence with which he shook hands with commissioner Adam Silver. “The Draft was an unforgettable experience, full of emotions that I will never forget. But it was a very eventful day, ”he says with a smile. Then the NBA reality quickly knocks on his door: Paolo is the first absolute choice, he lands in a team that has long been looking for a way to return to the protagonist, which he did in the two times he called first, with Shaquille O’Neal in 1992 and Dwight Howard in 2004. “I know there will be expectations of me, but it’s nothing different than what I’m used to,” he explains. There have been expectations of me in both high school and college. Those NBAs, however different, I want to face them in the same way: trying to have fun playing basketball and putting the team first. I know I can’t worry about what people say, just to have faith in myself and have the confidence of coaches and teammates. They are the ones to look to when you need help ”. Banchero then reveals the advice that coach K gave him: “He reminded me that at this level you are not given anything, that if you want something you have to get it. Just like I did in college ”.
Looking forward to returning to the field in the Summer League (“How much I miss playing basketball, during the Draft I did so many one-on-one but I didn’t play matches”), with Orlando debuting on July 7 in the first game of the Las Vegas tournament , Banchero tells the Draft from his point of view. “I think it took me at least 30 minutes to calm down after the first call, I was overwhelmed with emotions. Also because I knew I was number 1 just seconds before the commissioner announced it. My agent had told me to be ready for anything and before the start he would update me on the evolution of the situation. Just before the commissioner took the stage to announce the call, he looked at me and told me it was done ”. His agent is Mike Miller, a two-time NBA champion with Miami and a formidable three-point shooter, just the main thing Banchero worked on while he waited to find out who he would start his NBA career with. Miller was sitting in the front row in Orlando, with dad Mario and mom Rhonda, ready to lead Paolo in this new adventure. However, it will depend above all on him, on his desire to be great. And Paolo already has a lot of them.
June 24, 2022 (change June 24, 2022 | 21:58)
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