NEW YORK – Victor Oladipo’s incredible rise, from a high school backup to the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, has come with a complicated relationship with his father in the backdrop.
Tonight, the father – who rarely, if at all, attended his son’s DeMatha High School games – came to the forefront.
“I tried to bring the whole DMV with me,” Oladipo said. “I got my sisters, my mom, my agent. And my father actually came today, which means a lot to me, as well. It was hard for him definitely to come to a lot of my games, but for him to be here tonight is an amazing feeling.”
Oladipo spoke about how his family once viewed his basketball playing as merely a hobby.
“I don’t even know if my family still knows what’s going on,” Oladipo said. “I know they’re happy. I know they’re happy for me.”
DeMatha basketball coach Mike Jones has always maintained Victor and Chris Oladipo share a loving relationship, but any outsider can see it sometimes shows in strange ways. Jones has been close to Oladipo – “the whole ‘earned, not given,’ he is the epitome of that,” Jones said – and spent the last 48 hours with the former Indiana star.
“I was joking earlier, I kind of felt like I got drafted too, ” Jones said.
It’s the type of joy Oladipo has shared with not only his immediate family, but his extended family like Jones and former Indiana teammate Cody Zeller, who was drafted by the Bobcats with the No. 4 pick, much higher than many expected.
“I’m not surprised he got picked where he got picked,” Oladipo said. “I was cheering just as loud as everybody else.”
On a night most draft picks look like they’ve reached a lifelong goal (because that’s usually the case), Oladipo carried himself with an extra outward happiness.
Jones, who learned Oladipo had a hidden talent the night of his senior-year banquet at DeMatha, thought Oladipo would even display it during his televised interview immediately after the Magic picked him.
“I totally thought he was going to break out into song,” Jones said. “And he would have had this whole place rocking had he done that.”