Andre Iguodala recalls getting long overdue apology from Dick Vitale
Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala recalled the time he received an apology from college basketball staple Dick Vitale, one he had long awaited and somehow fell into his lap by a mystery of the universe.
Back in 2004, Iguodala was a highly-touted prospect coming out of Arizona, but Vitale didn’t think it warranted being among the top-10, let alone being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers. Slighted by that assertion, Iguodala went on to prove Vitale wrong with a strong NBA career, one that has now reaped three championships and a Finals MVP to his list of professional awards.
Iguodala recalled his draft experience, along with the comment Vitale had that left him jaded for a long time.
“I projected anywhere from 3 to 6. So we get to 7 and I haven’t got picked yet,” Andre Iguodala said as a guest of the Without Fail podcast h/t Drew Shiller of NBC Bay Area Sports. “Someone sets the expectations for you and then you don’t know what to expect and it’s like, ‘Are you a bust?’
“I had crazy thoughts like, ‘Am I not gonna get picked?’… so then I get picked and I don’t know how to feel. Did I go too late? What kind of questions am I gonna get? When you get picked, you go on stage and shake hands. And you see the draftees talking to interviewers and reporters — right there and it’s live.
“There’s a live feed right there, too. So you can hear yourself. So as soon as I get done — I do a little interview — I hear Dick Vitale. He pops up, he goes crazy — ‘I can’t believe the Sixers picked him. This guy’s a bust’ … he broke down my stats… ‘just athletic, no basketball game.’
“Funny thing is, I hadn’t spoken to Dick Vitale. Two years ago, I run into him. And I know he doesn’t remember. He came up and apologized. That was crazy. He was like, ‘Sorry I got you wrong.’ I’m like, ‘You remember that? That was 13 years ago.’
“I thought I was the only one who remembered it. But I didn’t bring it up to him. He just approached me. That’s pretty cool.”
The Warriors have been known to have a long memory, from remembering LeBron James’ post-championship antics to Draymond Green recalling every player drafted before him — but this is surely a thorn on Iguodala’s side that he was finally able to fully pluck out of his skin as Vitale made things right again.
Dicky V is hardly the first analyst to make a mistake when it comes to the NBA Draft, as many coaches, executives and even fan bases have been erroneous when first assessing the hand they’re dealt.
Andre Iguodala started his career as an iron man, playing a full 82 games in five of his first six seasons before settling into a support role later in his career. Now at 34 years old, he remains an important cog of the Warriors’ system and one that has surely defied the expectations of a nuanced draft process.