Armen Thompson and his twin brother Orser sat side by side amidst a maelstrom of tourists at Carmine’s Restaurant in Times Square around 8 p.m. Monday as they prepared for the NBA Draft at Barclays Center that morning. Flew to New York and now deciding which dish to share with the family they were having a challenge. Their father Troy, who is also their agent, ordered sautéed chicken, spaghetti with shrimp and a Caesar salad with anchovies.
Thinking about the week ahead, Ausar tried anchovies for the first time.
“It’s going to be a bittersweet moment when he gets drafted,” he said. “This is what we’ve been preparing for all our lives, but it means we’re leaving for the first time in our lives.
“We will continue to act as if everything is normal and we will be together forever, but that will be the end,” he said, picking up his phone from the white tablecloth and looking at the app. rice field. “2 days and 23 days to go” hours and 18 minutes. “
The twins’ preparations for the NBA began more than a decade before the Houston Rockets picked Amen in the first round of the draft Thursday night and the Detroit Pistons picked Orser. They grew up in Oakland, California with Troy. their mother, Maya. And his brother Troy Jr. played college basketball at Prairie View A&M. When the twins were nine years old, he created a vision board as a motivation to travel. It contained handwritten goals such as “Become the greatest NBA player of all time”, “Become a millionaire” and “Be 6 feet 9 inches tall”. It also included children’s ideas for specific steps to reach the NBA, such as “Run two miles while dribbling left-handed” and “Eat vitamins, healthy food and milk every day.”
Before dinner on Monday, they saw their vision board on a billboard in Times Square.
Amen now jokes that the only goal he regrets writing about is height. At the NBA draft meeting in Chicago last month, he and his brother were 6 feet 5.75 inches tall. “I should have said I wanted to be seven feet tall,” he said. “Then I would be six to nine years old now.”
Their preparations accelerated in 2021, becoming one of the first players to sign with the Atlanta-based semi-professional basketball league, the Overtime Elite. And it’s become a daily obsession since last June, when Orser and Amen attended friend Josh Minot’s NBA draft party for second-round Charlotte Hornets picks. On his way home, Orser decided he wanted to know exactly how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds he had left before he too became an NBA player.
He also wanted to know exactly how much time he had left with his brother.
So he started looking for a countdown timer for the iPhone. He downloaded one of his and agreed to pay an annual subscription fee of $9.99. He scrolled through the photos on his phone and picked a shot of him and Amen celebrating on his OTE basketball court to use as the background for the timer. Then I entered the date and time of the next draft: June 22, 2023, 8pm, 364 days away.
When Ausar first started the countdown to the draft, time seemed to slow down. The brothers were 19 at the time and had 245 days left when the OTE season began on October 20.
Over the past year, Ausar has checked the app at most once a day and at least once a week. When he needed a little more motivation to get up for an early alarm clock, he opened the app. When he reconsidered whether to stay late again after another practice, he nudged his brother and left his cell phone open.
They were part of OTE’s No. 2 draft class, but they were the first players in the league to be expected to be drafted in the first 14 picks, a slot known as the “lottery” and one of the best picks. It showed talent. So the twins’ draft status isn’t just a matter of personal pride, KPIs for OTE $500 million work.
When the OTE season ended, the twin team, the City Reapers, won the league title on May 6th. Only he had 47 days left. When they arrived in New York on Monday, they knew it might be their last chance to be together for a while. “The longest we’ve ever been apart is two days,” Orser said. “I went to Florida last year and he stayed in Atlanta. He called me like 30 times!”
On Tuesday, they went to the Empire State Building for a photo op with other draft candidates who were invited to sit in the green room on the floor of Barclays Center. We are both afraid of heights so had to make sure the railing was higher than ours. Still, I was nervous about climbing the ladder to the observatory, which is not open to the public. Afterwards, they headed to the courthouse to film a corner for the “Today” show, went to a photoshoot for two brands, and finished the day by working out with popular NBA trainers. Chris Brickley.
On Wednesday, they attended a series of interviews arranged by the NBA and then attended a meeting with the NBA Players Association before heading to Brooklyn for the OTE draft party. Fenced Basketball Content With His Court In his studio-turned-arts depot, the Thompson family did his five interviews in his 90 minutes. They were enthusiastic when asked what they were working on in the game (both said “shooting”), but were more open to questions about whether they had twin telepathy (“no”). was a rude answer). After Ausar hit a deep three-pointer over the fence, they headed back to the hotel to try on the suits. There were 21 hours left.
On Thursday, the day of the draft, they woke up at 9 a.m. to get touched up in their hotel room by a barber before inviting a four-person camera crew, including one from the designer and one from the New York Times, I watched them prepare. They joked about designer Walea Boswell swapping out matching double-breasted suits at the last minute. They also teased the idea of swapping places with each other to see if anyone would notice when chosen. But in the end, Amen wore a cream suit and Ausar stuck with navy blue.
About 30 minutes after the countdown timer ran out, Armen was sitting at a long table with his family at the Barclays Center when he got a call from the Rockets announcing he would be the No. 4 pick. Ausar jumped out of his seat and celebrated.
“My heart was beating really fast,” Orser said. “I was more worried about where he would be drafted than where I was going. And I think I was happier with him than I was with myself.”
Outhur’s phone wasn’t ringing when Armen made his way to the stage to shake hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Troy didn’t hear anything either. Awther was opening Twitter on his cell phone to see if any NBA officials were tipping him off for the next pick when he noticed that none of the TV cameras were moving from his table. When he saw Silver back on the podium, he felt he was about to be drafted fifth by the Pistons.
When he heard his name called, he got up and stopped, almost instinctively looking for his brother, but Amen was already gone. He hugged his mother instead. Amen, who was on the microphone for an interview nearby, raised his fist in the air when he heard his brother’s name. It was a few minutes before the two met again, but only had enough time to high-five before being taken in the opposite direction for an interview.
After leaving Barclays, they went to another OTE party. “If I had a son who was drafted, I would tell him to put up a placard at every party that said ‘no pictures please,'” Orsar said with a laugh. “I feel like all we did was walk in, take an hour and a half of photos, and leave.”
Finally, at 2:00 a.m., they collapsed into Orsir’s room and celebrated with each other. Since the draft party a year and a day ago, there’s been a moment they’ve been counting down, and it’s worked out better than they originally envisioned. “We weren’t just in the top 10,” Amen later said. “I’m in the top five.”
The next morning, on their way to a live appearance on Today, they received additional good news from their father. The Rockets will allow Amen to fly to Detroit first and spend time with Ausher until Sunday, and the Pistons have allowed it. Ausar flies to Houston to repay Amen. The countdown timer had expired 13 hours ago and time seemed to slow down again. The Thompson twins will still be together for at least a few more days.