Editor’s note: ESPN will televise the 2013 NBA Draft tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET.
It was 28 years ago that ESPN Baseball Tonight analyst Barry Larkin was selected fourth overall by the Cincinnati Reds in the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Fast forward to tonight and Barry will be in attendance at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. where his son — University of Miami star point guard Shane Larkin — is expected to realize a lifelong dream and be selected in the NBA Draft.
Front Row had the opportunity to catch up with the proud father hours before his son’s biggest sports moment to date.
How is Shane preparing for the moment when his name is expected to be called?
I asked him how he was going to feel and I think he’s keeping it to himself. He did tell me it would be an emotional time, but you never know until it happens. I told him when I was drafted, I was excited, but I kind of knew where I was going. There wasn’t that big buildup.
Talk about your draft experience.
I was drafted out of high school and there was a time I wasn’t sure whether or not to sign. I told everyone I wanted to go to college and [the Cincinnati Reds] still drafted me. I grew up poor. What was really pulling at my heart was whether I should go to school or sign to get some money for my mom and dad. I was also prepped and I knew who was thinking about taking me.
Shane [who played two seasons at Miami] had to declare for the [NBA] Draft. It was more of a conscious decision. That’s a fundamental difference between what I went through coming out of high school in baseball. You were eligible as a high school senior, you didn’t have to declare. Shane’s saying, ‘This is something I want to do. This is the next move on the path to my lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.’ I’m just happy he has a chance to live out his dreams.
How have professional sports drafts evolved, in terms of popularity, since you were drafted in 1985?
When I was drafted it was a big deal in the baseball community. Now it’s a big deal worldwide. I think it would be totally different for me now. There wasn’t the big fanfare.
Putting your ESPN analyst hat on, how would you assess Shane Larkin?
He’s got the physical tools and I know the kind of person and the kind of player he is. He makes people around him better. Regardless of his size and the limitations people want to put on him, that’s one thing he brings every day. He makes people better, makes people better players and makes them better human beings. They’re better just being around him. I know he will be incredibly prepared when he steps on the court.