The loneliest moments of one's life often happen when one least expects it. Sitting outside of a conference room in the caves of an arena in Brooklyn that Jay Z figuratively built while waiting to speak to a room full of media is the last place Jabari Parker probably expected to find himself alone.
But there he was. Sitting. All alone. Milwaukee Bucks draft cap on. Head bowed. Soaking his entire life in. Total running time: Close to 10 minutes. The one camera filming Jabari at this moment was so irrelevant to him that he'll likely be surprised if he ever sees it on TV.
And as the tears subsided, the reality that he'd just crossed his life's ordained threshold had to have overcome him. A calm set in. He reached into the inside pocket of his blazer and pulled out his cellphone. Checked for any and all activity that had come his way since he became the new face of an NBA franchise. He looked at his phone one more time. Put it back in his pocket. Then the door opened, Wiggins came out and they hugged. Jabari was up next.
Jabari shared with ESPN.com's Henry Abbott the day before the draft that the best advice he was ever given was to be the same person in the dark that you are in the light. No moment better reflected that advice than this moment in front of the media. He is so himself in this moment of transformation. Even as he tries to compose himself, never asking anyone for a tissue or napkin, he remains true to being that same person when no one else is around to see him break.
The light is finally on Jabari Parker in a way it has never been before. Time to shine young fella, time to shine.
As he left the podium and walked back through the corridor to finish fulfilling the next set of obligations that comes with being called the "most NBA-ready player in the draft," Jabari said in a walk-along interview that 10 years ago he could have never imagined this moment. Then he put his arm around me. We walked. This kid -- now man -- whom I watched grow up.
Knowing he will never have an experience or moment to himself like the one he just had, I had only one question for Jabari before he disappeared into what his life is about to become.
"What was going through your mind during that 10 minutes when you were alone outside of that interview room, once it all hit you?" I asked.
"Pure happiness, Scoop. Pure happiness."
And then he was gone.