Inside the Secret Room
A view from lockdown as the Trail Blazers secured the No. 3 overall pick.
CHICAGO — The fun part was watching the spectacle unfold and knowing what would happen.
I watched ESPN's telecast of the draft lottery results with about 50 people, give or take—a combination of other media members, team front-office executives, league staffers and Ernst & Young officials. We had all known the results of the lottery—that Victor Wembanyama is going to San Antonio and, for your purposes and mine, that the Trail Blazers moved up from the fifth-best odds to the No. 3 overall pick—for about an hour by the time the rest of the world found out.
I watched Brandon Roy's face on the lottery dais as the No. 5 envelope was pulled with a Detroit Pistons logo on it. In his mind, and everyone else's in the room, there was still a chance he'd go 2-for-2 as the team's lottery rep. I knew that was the case, and so did the rest of us in the room, but we couldn't tell anybody.
Before we were escorted into a repurposed ballroom at McCormick Place, anything in our possession that could be used to communicate with the outside world—phones, Apple Watches, computers, even just simple digital recorders—were taken from us and placed in sealed FedEx envelopes with our names on them.
Another reporter asked me as we were waiting to be let in if this was the most security I'd ever seen at an NBA event. I answered no, but only because I covered a game in my former life on the Bulls beat that then-President Barack Obama was set to attend, and that involved a Secret Service sweep. But this was close.
Once we were all locked in the room, Byron Spruell, the NBA's president of league operations took the stage to spell out the rules.