Thousands of kids across the globe dream of being in the position Victor Oladipo, Trey Burke, and Nerlens Noel find themselves in today. NBA rookies make millions playing the game they love with players they grew up idolizing. Along with the perks come great expectations. No one wants to be known as the Kwame Brown of the 2013 NBA Draft class. There's also the throngs of distant relatives and friends looking to cash in on their success.
Oladipo, Burke, and Noel were kind enough to take some time out to break down their lives as NBA rookies for us. The three lottery picks from the 2013 NBA Draft talk about the first big purchases they made with money from their NBA contracts, who they're most looking forward to facing this season, and their biggest fears in the 2013-14 NBA season.
What was your favorite court to play on while growing up?
Nerlens Noel: My favorite court growing up to play on was definitely at the recreation center, because I went there every day after school to play with the older guys, and would always have to wait my turn. But as I got older and better that quickly changed, and it helped me push myself to compete against older players.
Trey Burke: My Papa’s backyard. It’s where my dad and older cousins would beat me up.
Victor Oladip: The court next to the grocery store BJ’s. This had a lot to do with me becoming a pro; instead of me going in the store, I would always take a ball and shoot on the hill by BJ’s.
Which player are you most anxious to play against this season?
NN: I'm most anxious to play against Kevin Garnett because I really looked up to him growing up.
TB: Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, and Derrick Rose.
VO: Russell Westbrook.
My biggest fear is hitting that 'rookie wall' everyone talks about. —Victor Oladipo
What's your biggest fear as an NBA rookie?
NN: Not establishing myself early on in the season. I want to be able to adjust to the speed of the game so I can start progressing.
TB: Not winning.
VO: Hitting that “rookie wall” everyone talks about.
What's your favorite college memory?
NN: My favorite college memory would have to be when I had four blocks with four fouls in the last four minutes to win the game, and kept my team’s chances of making the NCAA tournament against a top 20 Ole Miss team.
TB: Getting to the national championship game in Atlanta.
VO: Winning a Big Ten season title.
What's the first big purchase you made after going pro?
NN: The 2014 Range Rover.
VO: The furniture for my apartment.
Who's had the biggest influence on your life and career?
NN: Definitely my mom, although she didn't play basketball. Just seeing how hard she worked definitely pushed me to work hard to be my best.
TB: My dad was my biggest influence.
VO: My mother/Team Takeover/St. Jerome’s/DeMatha High School.
What's the hardest part of being a rookie in the NBA?
NN: The amount of financial favors asked of me.
TB: Being responsible and disciplined; going to work every day without it being structured for you.
VO: Adjusting to family and friends.
What's one thing that most fans don't know about you?
Most fans don't know that my real name is Alfonso Burke III. —Trey Burke
NN: I love eggnog.
TB: My real name is Alfonso Burke III.
VO: I like watching movies by myself.
If you weren't playing basketball for a living what would you do?
NN: I would be a secret agent.
TB: Training and coaching basketball.
VO: Some type of sports communication.