NBA Retro Zapruder Of The 1985 NBA Draft Lottery

Categories: Game Time, Sports

Mini Zapruder time:

0:01 -- The envelopes are dropped into the bin, and the conspiracy theories typically start with the fourth envelope. As you can see, it's thrown into the bin in an entirely different fashion than the others, corner-first and with some velocity directly into the wall of the bin, as opposed to the six others which are dropped in fairly gently. It appears to be deliberate enough to where intent could be easily construed.

0:20 -- By the way, we'd be remiss not to give 1985 Stern a quick once over, right? With the slicked down, highly pronounced side part and his jet black hair, Stern could just as easily be an undertaker as he could be the NBA commissioner. Seriously, he looks like Paul Bearer after the most successful lap band surgery of all time. Also gone from the '85 Stern look, his signature mustache, which was on full display at the previous year's draft. To this day, Stern opting to let go of the 'stache is still the most tramautic utilization of the "amnesty clause" in league history.

0:34 -- The drum is turned and anyone with half a brain throws out the "folded corner" theory, as the envelopes all bang hard against the side of the lottery bin, presumably folding several corners.

0:44 -- The bin itself looks like it was designed by the same aliens that designed the Death Star in Star Wars. Same exact spherical shape and the hatch is exactly where the lasers that blow up entire planets shoot from. Very 80's!

0:47 -- The envelope for the first pick is taken from the bin (yes, the corner is fairly mangled), and it's crazy to think that this methodology is deciding the fates of entire franchises, people's careers, legacies of GM's and coaches. The enormity is mind boggling. (Also, this is the right time to point out the second conspiracy theory, that one of the envelopes was kept in a freezer and was significantly colder than the other six. I don't know all of the laws of condensation and soggy paper, but that sounds patently absurd.)

0:56 -- Conspiracy theorists would tell you that New York Knicks' general manager Dave Debusschere is putting on an Emmy worth performance as he crosses his fingers. (Jalen Rose might even call it "Pulitzer worthy.")

1:16 -- I have no idea who the Indiana Pacers guy is in the split shot with Debusschere, but as soon as the first pick is revealed he gets a look on his face like the guy who wants to reach over and slap the dealer after losing ten straight hands of black jack. Think about it, the 1983 and 1985 drafts were both essentially one player drafts (Sampson and Ewing) and the Pacers picked second in both (Steve Stipanovich in 1983 and Tisdale in 1985), and in the one draft with multiple players, they had traded their pick (second overall again!). They'd even wind up picking second in the Danny Manning draft in 1988 (Rik Smits, yo!). Trust me, Susan Lucci had nothing on the Pacers.

1:30 -- Crowd shot of the media...lots of mustaches, beards, and big hair. The 80's!

1:49 -- Debusschere and Stern whisper to each other:

Debusschere: You think they bought it?

Stern: Who cares...

3:06 -- The Clippers' general manager (who believe it or not, at one time, was not Elgin Baylor) says that he's still excited to be picking third because they will "get a good player." If Twitter were around back in 1985, this is the point in the lottery where "LOL" would have been trending.

3:12 -- The fat Pacers guy is Herb Simon, co-owner. Mystery solved. And he's still pissed about the dealer at the "NBA draft black jack table" not busting for the previous three years. He tries to act like he's not, but he's the worst liar of all-time.

3:44 -- The broadcast closes with news of Patrick Ewing refusing to do an interview with CBS. Indeed, in so many ways -- the rise of Stern's Sith lord type dominance, the hair, the suits, the Clippers' presence, and the defiance of young Pat Ewing -- the 1985 draft lottery was a perfect microcosm of mid-80's NBA.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at

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Notice how camera zooms in as 2nd envelope is dropped in, then zooms out after last envelope.

Ken Roberts
Ken Roberts

No, even though that's one of Bill Simmons's favorite, semi-joking conspiracy theories along with Jordan's baseball vacation being due to a secret suspension for gambling. Simmons usually goes with that freezer theory.

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