While we pore over classic games and revisit some of the NBA's truly memorable moments while patiently hitting pause on the 2019-20 season, we're paying homage to the quirks and resurfacing the forgotten with a series called 'This was a thing' in which we'll celebrate the oddities that make this league far more than simply a game. First up? The craziest pair of shorts in NBA rookie photo shoot history.
The top five picks in the 2003 NBA draft will be forever etched in history as one of the greatest classes of all-time.
LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh all dropped in that range, as basketball fans around the globe salivated at the prospect of what was to come for the young quartet.
With that in mind, 2003 rookie photo day was hotly anticipated, as it was one of the first real chances for fans to see their shiny new recruits in team uniform. Despite the hoopla surrounding the big name prospects, it was the No. 8 overall pick to the Milwaukee Bucks, T.J Ford, who stole the show.
After a hugely successful three-year college career at Texas, Ford gave Milwaukee fans hope that he would be their point guard of the future, though, the 2003 Naismith Player of the Year's first iconic moment came at this gathering, due to his insanely large uniform he wore during the photoshoot - even by 2003 standards.
While the jersey was several sizes too big, it was the shorts that were the standout, as they basically stretched all the way to his ankles in a look that would clearly never work on an actual NBA floor.
Hilarity aside, Ford explained the reason behind the photoshoot on a twitter video in 2018.
I remember the photoshoot like it was yesterday 😂 😂 . This how it all went down at the @nbpa @NBA @espn @BarkingCarnival @bgurley- TJ Ford (@tj_ford) August 7, 2018
"Let me tell you how that came about. So 15 years ago at RTP, rookie transitional program, we had to do a photoshoot. Everybody that got drafted from 2003. So when I show up, your team is supposed to ship all your uniforms and things that fit your sizes," Ford explained.
"But when I get there ready to do my photo segment for all the NBA photos, those were the shorts they gave me! I had these big ole shorts for a guy that was 7-feet tall, and they also gave me a jersey that was just as big. They told me, 'This is all we have. There's nothing else for us to give you. So, you have to take these photos in these shorts.'"
Ford would go onto to play in eight seasons in the NBA, with career averages of 11.2 points and 5.8 assists. Ultimately, Ford would never reach his true potential in the league after a nasty fall in his rookie season caused him to suffer a contusion of his spinal cord that would ultimately lead to serious spinal cord surgery.
17 years on the photos remain classic, and turns out, we have the Milwaukee Bucks to thank for these iconic snaps.
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