Originally created 06/28/01

Brown's mother left the decision to him



NEW YORK -- Kwame Brown said all along his mother's health was the reason he made the decision to bypass college and go directly to the NBA.

After he was made the No. 1 overall pick by the Washington Wizards, Joyce Brown made it clear she didn't put any pressure on her son.

A degenerative disc in her back has kept the 53-year-old Brown from working since 1994.

"I gave that decision to him," she said Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden. "He asked me what he should do and I told him to go sit in a corner and think it out for himself."

Kwame Brown was the seventh of her eight children and Joyce Brown, who was working in a Days Inn when her health problems started, knows things will be different for her family from now on.

"I'm not materialistic," she said, "but maybe I'll buy a hotel now."

ALMOST HOME COOKING: Tyson Chandler was chosen by the Los Angeles Clippers with the second overall pick, a team that isn't more than a few hundred 3-pointers from his hometown of Compton, Calif.

Eddy Curry was chosen by the Chicago Bulls with the fourth overall pick, a team that he grew up watching in South Holland, Ill.

Eddie Griffin was chosen by the New Jersey Nets with the seventh overall pick, a team that plays in the same building as his college team.

When the three met the media after being chosen in the NBA draft, they seemed more than pleased with the chance to play in front of family and friends.

For Chandler and Griffin, the feelings lasted less time than it took to call everybody back home with the news. Chandler's rights were traded to the Chicago Bulls, while Griffin's were dealt to Houston.

"My mom's all right," Chandler said after exchanging his Clippers baseball cap for a Bulls model. "She was so excited I was going to be home. This puts you down in reality. You're in business now."

Griffin, a native of Philadelphia, said he never pictured himself in a Nets uniform.

"I think when I go back to the hotel it will all settle in," he said. "This was a wake-up call. I'm glad I got it early."

WAITING GAME: The NBA invited 14 players to the draft, all expected to be among the first players taken. They sat in an area called the "green room," the television term for where guests wait before they are brought before the cameras.

As players are selected and taken to be interviewed, it can become a lonely place.

Troy Murphy sat and heard 13 names called before he was chosen by the Golden State Warriors.

"It was a little tough sitting there. I'm glad it's over," he said. "There's a lot worse places to be than sitting in that room waiting to get picked to go play a game for millions of dollars."

Brendan Haywood was the last of the 14 invited players taken. The North Carolina center was taken by Cleveland with the 20th pick, then had his rights traded to Orlando.

"It was nerve-wracking, because I thought I was going to go 15th or 17th, and when those picks passed I started to get worried," he said. "I saw that every time a guy was going to get picked the camera started going toward him. After those picks went by I stopped looking, because I was afraid the cameras weren't coming. Right before my name was called, though, I sneaked a peek and saw the cameras coming."

READY TO ENDORSE: Shane Battier, the national college player of the year from Duke, seemed ready for the corporate world as soon as he was chosen by the Vancouver Grizzlies with the sixth overall pick.

The Grizzlies are expected to move to Memphis for the upcoming season and Battier knew enough to get on the Tennessee city's good side.

"There's no better company in the world than FedEx," he said, referring to the overnight delivery company headquartered in Memphis.

YOUNG PICKS: Four of the six high school players available in the draft were taken in the first eight picks.

Kwame Brown was taken No. 1 by Washington, while Tyson Chandler went on the next pick to the Los Angeles Clippers, who then traded his rights to Chicago.

Eddy Curry was the fourth pick by Chicago, while DeSagana Diop went at No. 8 to Cleveland.

Two other high school players - Ousmane Cisse of Montgomery, Ala. and Tony Key of Compton, Calif. - were in the draft. Cisse was taken 47th by the Denver Nuggets, while Key wasn't selected.

By making themselves available for the draft high school players are no longer eligible to play under NCAA rules.

Before this year, the earliest a high school player was selected was third, when Darius Miles went to the Clippers last year. Only one other high school player was taken in the first round last year, DeShawn Stevenson at No. 23 by the Utah Jazz.

FOREIGN INTRIGUE: Pau Gasol, who played for F.C. Barcelona in Spain, was taken third by the Atlanta Hawks, making him the highest drafted player from a foreign team.

Michael Olowokandi, a native of England, was the No. 1 overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in 1998, but he played at the University of the Pacific.

Three other players from foreign teams were taken in Wednesday's first round: Vladimir Radmanovic of FMP Zeleznik (Yugoslavia), 12th by Seattle; Raul Lopez of Real Madrid (Spain), 24th by Utah; and Tony Parker of Paris Basket Racing (France), 28th by San Antonio.