Obi Toppin was certainly emotional last Wednesday after hitting two birds with one stone in the 2020 NBA Draft. Apart from realizing his childhood dream of making it to the NBA, he was also picked eight overall by his hometown team, the New York Knicks.
Turns out, the 22-year-old high-leaper has been a Knicks fan since day one, evidenced by this photo shared by his mother, Roni Toppin, on Twitter. A young Obi was wearing a no. 8 Knicks jersey, donned by Latrell Sprewell from 1998 to 2003.
Been Knicks fans NY pic.twitter.com/SU4fBjs1g2
— R Toppin (@roni_toppin) November 20, 2020
It is worth noting that Knicks fans have been highly critical of the franchise’s draft picks in recent years. But judging by the positive reactions the photos received, looks like Toppin’s selection got their seal of approval.
Wearing #8 and he was picked #8 overall, meant to be
New Yorkers are going to back Obi forever pic.twitter.com/kXkGafumnV
— Joey (@JoeWithA_Y) November 20, 2020
Damn straight. So happy to have your son on our team. Let’s go!!!! Make sure he has some good home cooking so he can be cooking on the court.
— Justin (@JustinG1112) November 20, 2020
Obi Toppin was born and raised in Brooklyn and his family were obviously Knicks fans growing up. His father and namesake, Obadiah, was an accomplished baller himself, earning the nickname Dunker’s Delight for streetball team Court Kingz.
Toppin was indeed a late bloomer, as he did not receive any Division 1 offers after high school. It’s crazy to think that the 6-foot-9 athletic specimen could barely dunk the basketball those days.
His game quickly developed after quite the growth spurt and became a star for the Dayton Flyers. He showed massive improvements in his sophomore year, notching 20 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.2 blocks in 31 games and was deservedly named National College Player of The Year.
The Knicks, meanwhile, definitely had luck on their side considering Toppin was projected to go in the top 5. New York always had their sights on him and was willing to draft up to pick him.
Turns out, they didn’t have to, as Toppin fell into their laps at eight. Things are now looking up in New York, as they finally got the guy they wanted from the draft.