It’s a small world, they say.

No, it’s really not.

“I met So-And-So’s daughter at the DMV today. We got to talking by chance, and then realized I knew her dad. It’s such a small world! Can you believe that?!”

Yes, I can believe that.

You and her have always lived within 5 square miles of each other, nearest the same driver’s bureau. You both own cars, which both need proper registration.  You’re both law abiding citizens and taxpayers.

What a shocker.

There was no better place last week than the NBA Draft to find the same small-mindedness that leads so many to express that a place whose circumference at the equator is 24,900 miles is “small”.

Knicks fans welcomed their newest player–a 19-year-old who’s honed his craft professionally, away from his home country, since he was fifteen–with resounding boos.  Kristaps Porzingis was there in the room, experiencing the biggest night/accomplishment of his dedicated life.

“Concrete Jungle where dreams are made of. There’s nothing you can’t do.”

Sing it Jay-Z.  And he would know, since his indictment for stabbing a dude in 1999 hasn’t hindered his career.  But he’s not from Latvia; he’s from Brooklyn.

“Only two international lottery picks since 1998 have become All Stars.”

That was said only every five minutes in the weeks leading up to the draft.  But why leave out the Euros who were drafted low relative to their NBA output?

  • Marc Gasol went 48th in 2007.  Acie Law went 11th.  Greg Oden went 1st.
  • Manu Ginobili went 57th in 1999.  Steve Francis went 2nd.  Trajan Langdon, 11th.
  • Tony Parker went 28th in 2001.  Kwame Brown went 1st.  Indiana’s Kirk Haston went 16th.
  • Arvydas Sabonis, Toni Kukoc, and Vlade Divac all went well into the 20s.
  • Nikola Mirotic went 23rd in 2011, just after Duke’s Nolan Smith, and way after media darling Jimmer Fredette.  USA media, that is.

Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt was taken 131st in the 1984 Draft, just ahead of Illinois Wesleyan’s Blaise Bujajesky and just before Iona’s Jerry Gary Springer.  Oscar was so turned off by his 6th round stateside assessment, that he stayed overseas and hung 46 on the Americans in the gold medal round of the Pan-Am games.  He also led the Summer Olympics in scoring.  Which games, you ask?  1988.  And 1992.  And 1996.

Did Gary Springer even lead Iona in scoring?

Undoubtedly, there have been international busts. And some spectacularly so, that hindsight leads us to believe we ‘should’ve known’ since we knew so little about them.

Darius Miles was from East St. Louis.
Adam Morisson was from Glendive, Montana.
The infamous Sam Bowie wasn’t from Lebanon.  He was from…wait, he was from Lebanon.  Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

I’m all for waving our flag and all that it stands for.

But waving it dismissively to promote a perceived difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is to not understand the very flag you’re waving.

Kristaps Porzingis may very well bust. But so might Emmanual Mudiay–the guy who NY fans wanted.  Mudiay played zero years in college, and one in China, where only 2 Americans are allowed on the otherwise Asian rosters.

Don’t tell Knicks fans that Mudiay was born in Zaire and first lived in The Congo.

It’s not a small world. It’s an immense world overpopulated with small minds.

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