The NBA Draft Lottery is theater at its finest, rivaled only by the World Cup draw in terms of mining drama out of the selection of ping pong balls. (We don’t even get to see the ping pong balls, though, which is a real shame, although there’s a certain lo-fi suspense to the envelopes being there.
Lately, teams have taken to bringing good luck totems and other various things, or even sending certain people as representatives in an odd effort to influence a drawing that has already taken place. (And some people know the results, this isn’t a Schrodinger’s lottery ball situation.) But while Dan Gilbert’s kid remains the gold standard (back-to-back wins, although one was Anthony Bennett) the Orlando Magic are a strong contender this year, especially if you’re a 90s kid.
That’s because they’re bringing Lil’ Penny.
Via the Orlando Sentinel:
A daughter’s toy wooden pig. A nephew’s fidget spinner. A daughter’s Lego figure.
Orlando Magic officials have brought all sorts of good luck charms with them to the NBA Draft Lottery the last five years.
None of those trinkets worked — at least not well enough to help the Magic land a superstar.
This year, the Magic will rely on a decades-old, talking Lil’ Penny doll.
Pat Williams, a co-founder of the Magic, intends to carry the toy into Chicago’s Palmer House Hilton for the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night. Williams will sit in the room where four pingpong balls will be drawn from a lottery machine and hope the Magic win the top overall pick. The doll will sit close by.
This actually makes even more sense, as Williams will actually be present for the drawing. Inasmuch as you believe in lucky totems, they probably can only do much good if they’re present for the actual event in quetion.
Oh, and if you don’t remember Lil’ Penny, first of all you’re missing out, but second of all, imagine a time when Penny Hardaway was a household name, to the point that a national ad campaign was built around a dummy fascimile voiced by Chris Rock:
“One penny and a bunch of loafers” is a perfect piece of comedy.
There’s nothing more valuable than a legitimately funny commercial campaign. Those are all too rare now. (RIP, Most Interesting Man in the World.)
Whether or not it helps the Magic to success in the lottery remains to be seen, but either way, more Lil’ Penny in 2018 is never a bad thing.