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David Griffin had to convince his former colleague Jeff Cohen to give up the tie. 

By Dan Gartland
May 15, 2019

Luck was on the Pelicans’ side

The Pelicans defied the odds to win the Zion Williamson sweepstakes, and New Orleans GM David Griffin did everything in his power to make sure it happened. 

Griffin, freshly hired by New Orleans to oversee the franchise’s rebuild, brought with him not one but two good luck totems. And the Pels needed it. They only had a 6% chance of getting the first pick and a 37.2% chance of landing at No. 8. 

The team even commissioned an official lucky charm contest for fans, which was won by a lady named Connie. 

But the real good luck charm was the tie being worn by head coach Alvin Gentry. It belongs to former Cavaliers executive Jeff Cohen and he wore it the last three times Cleveland won the lottery, in 2011, 2013 and 2014. Griffin called Cohen to ask him if he could borrow the tie but Cohen tried to downplay its mystical properties. Griffin was unmoved, though, and still wanted it anyway. Cohen, presumably happy to help out another guy who was screwed by Dan Gilbert, obliged. 

But the tie should come with a word of caution. One of the times the tie granted Cleveland the first pick, the team (with Griffin as the second-most powerful man in the front office) selected Anthony Bennett. The tie grants good fortune, but it’s up to the people in charge to make the right decision. Luckily for Griffin, the decision this year is a no-brainer.

Only for the Knicks is getting the No. 3 pick a failure

The NBA draft lottery was suprisingly entertaining television, with the Suns and Bulls getting screwed. The Knicks had the worst record in the NBA but thanks to the flattened odds at the top of the lottery only ended up with the third pick.

The Knicks only had a 14% chance of getting the first pick and a 48% chance of getting the fifth pick, so No. 3 isn’t a bad result. But still, it was a crushing defeat for Knicks fans, who had convinced themselves they were about to get Zion Williamson. The scene played out all over New York much like it did in the SI office:

It sounds like Zion himself had a similar reaciton. 

Here’s how the New York tabloids reacted to the news. 

The best of SI

Chris Mannix was inside the drawing room during the draft lottery. ... Let’s do a full 60-pick NBA mock draft now that we know the order. ... The Warriors cruised past the Blazers in Game 1 with a deadly pick-and-roll. ... Jeopardy! champ James Holzhauer explains what it means to be a professional sports gambler.

Around the sports world

A legendary lost tape of a wrestling match from the ’80s was finally uncovered and released by WWE. ... The NCAA is going to at least consider allowing athletes to profit off of their likenesses. ... If the Raptors end up playing the Blazers in the Finals, an Oregon senator wants to make sure Enes Kanter is safe from the international arrest warrant issued by Turkey

I don’t think Zion is slipping to No. 3

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Dame came ready to play in his hometown

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Damian Lillard Born in Oakland

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No one had struck out 17 in seven innings until Chris Sale did it

Freddie Freeman shows his son no mercy

If the conference finals turn into a battle of the bands, the Raptors are a lock

Vlad Jr. went deep to center twice

Four bags the hard way

Don’t hit it there

The Spy Behind Home Plate

I’m sorry, what’s his name?

Not sports

An Australian family out walking their dog stumbled upon a massive gold nugget. ... Some random travel company conducted a survey in which people said a Boston accent was America’s second sexiest. ... The Navy released audio recordings revealing why pilots in Washington drew penises in the sky with their planes in 2017.

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I’m horrified beyond words

1998 interview with George R.R. Martin

A good song

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