Jan Vesely never understood the hysteria that followed his draft night smooth with girlfriend Eva Kodouskova. To him, he was simply celebrating a special moment. No big deal. But it arguably overshadowed Cleveland drafting Kyrie Irving No. 1 overall or that four foreign players were among the top seven players taken for the first time in NBA history.
“All the news is writing about that,” Vesely said during his Monday news conference, as Kodouskova and Vesely’s sister, Hana, giggled in the front row. “I think nobody knows about the picks, it was on that night, everybody talking about the kiss. I think we went to history.”
James Gist, Vesely’s former teammate at Partizan Belgrade, was also amused by the reaction. “That’s Jan. That’s European culture. That’s love right there,” said Gist, the former Good Counsel and Maryland star who shared his thoughts on Vesely over the weekend. “A lot of people wouldn’t have done that.”
TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley chimed in on the kiss during a radio interview with ESPN Radio New York with Mike Lupika and offered his usual humorous take. “I like the fact that she was marking her territory,” Barkely said of Kodouskova. “She wanted everyone to know that ‘this is my millionaire and nobody can have them.’ I like that. Hey, millionaires don’t grow on trees.”
Barkley also said that he was upset about that worst teams in the NBA have to take so many young players from college or overseas. “All you hear all night is ‘he’s a project. He’s got potential.’ See, that’s why I hate young kids coming to the NBA, because that’s not what the draft is for. The draft is designed for bad teams to get help; they’re not supposed to get a project. I think it does a disservice to the game, I think it does a disservice to the fans — because if I’m a fan and my team is a crappy team, I don’t want them drafting a guy that I’ve got to wait to see if he’s going to be any good; that doesn’t help me as a fan. The draft used to be designed as okay my team stinks, I’m going to get Hakeem Olajuwon, I’m going to get Tim Duncan, or Michael Jordan or Karl Malone or someone like that. To draft a kid No. 1 that only played overseas, or a kid that’s only played 10 college games or one year, he’s not going to be no immediate help to my team. That’s why I hate all these kids coming to the NBA.”