Six weeks before the NBA draft, Trey Burke was locked inside a gym near his father’s house in Columbus, Ohio, going through his daily regimen of 700 jumpers. But shooting form wasn’t the only thing on the ex-Michigan point guard’s mind. Choosing something to wear on draft night, he said only half-jokingly, “is as important as training.”
Team can be about larger-than-life individuals feeding off of each other; it can be all about form and function. San Antonio always has been somewhere in between the two.
A single successful day does not ensure a comfortable future in the public eye for Jason Collins. If the free agent center does manage to find a spot on a team this offseason, he will be faced with a rush of media attention, vocal haters spewing invective at every road game, and a subsection of the culture inclined to think his brave decision was inspired by impure motives. (Collins’s agent, Arn Tellem, has already had to explain that he didn’t push his client to come out to boost his chances of getting a contract.) He may also play with a teammate unwilling to accept him or find himself in a locker room that inadvertently alienates him because of the novelty—and unique pressure—of the situation. Collins made this decision based on what it means for the rest of his life, not for one day, and it’s impossible to know from here how his experience will unfold over time.