Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Draft

Four years ago I was driving Luke and recently-christened NBA Champion Damian Jones around in my dad’s mondo Nissan Armada. Luke was fiddling through Maps (the app) (not the foldable kind) (millennials) trying to navigate his and Dame’s way to their first college class at Vanderbilt. Damian was as shy and polite as could be, and Luke, as always, was fearlessly taking charge.

Some things never change.

“Left, Nicole. No right. Heck, just drop us off here. We’ll be better off walking.”

Four years ago back when I was the favorite child, before NBA-potential Luke, I was fresh off my first season at OU. 

Buddy Hield and I were freshman that year. 

As I sat peering over at Luke’s gangly limbs as he barked commands at me from shotgun, I could barely fathom the idea that this was really happening.

“There's no way Luke can hang with these guys,” I quietly thought to myself, along with everyone else in the nation.

Four years later, the now 7’2” (mhmm) (I said it) (“I measured 7’1” without shoes and 7'2 and 3/8” in them Nicole") (so yes, 7’2” with shoes) little brother of mine is the all-time leader of this, that, and the other at Vanderbilt.

As it turns out, he could hang with those guys.

Yesterday was my older brother John’s birthday. You heard correctly. I have another brother, and his name is John, and he secretly puts Luke & me to shame.

He’s the pretty one in the family.

I’ve been hoarding Southwest vouchers throughout my travels this year, and racked up enough to fly Johnny boy out to LA for his big day. It just so happened that Luke would be in LA too, working out for the Lakers.

The timing could not have been any more perfect.

Over the weekend a few things dawned on me. 

1.) I love John William and Luke Francis with all of my heart.
2.) The NBA draft is next week. 
3.) I am in a pickle.

Let’s begin with #1.

My family is extremely close. Yes, closeness typically has a positive connotation; but with closeness also comes filter-free criticism, opinions, and the cold, hard truth.

That, I think, is my favorite part about the Kornet family, or should I say Kornet men. My mother merely married into it and had to quickly come to bear the brunt of this so-called “tough love,” or else she would have crumbled at 22, the age she wed my father.

“Nicole, run a comb through your hair.”
“John, shoot like your sister.”
“Luke, you do nothing in this house. Go pick up Copper’s poop. Now.”

Gotta love it. Whether it comes from John, Luke, my dad, or my mom, there’s no way to sugar-coat the love language of the Kornet’s.

Aside from what may come across as harsh and insensitive to most, many amazing, caring, sentimental, thoughtful, sacrificial qualities abundantly reside in the hearts of my family as well. I simply won’t bore you with those incidentals at this time.

I’ll just leave it at this—

My mom used to ask other parents if it was normal that all three of her children would rather stay at home and watch Rocky IV with their father instead of go out with their friends on a Saturday night.

The fact of the matter is, we love hanging out together. All five of our unique personalities really make for a special bond. 

Point #2:
The NBA draft is on June 22nd.

The whole family will be coming together under one roof—aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends included.

Come the 22nd Luke will have had worked out for 14 NBA teams.

That's a lot.

Especially for one whose name can't easily be found within the top 60 in most mock drafts.

Some have him at 67, some have him at 44, some have him at 60 on the dot.

For one, don’t believe everything you read on the Internet. Mock drafts are like chat rooms. Coaches and GM’s don’t create them; shoe companies do. 

I sound like a bitter ex-wife here, but I promise I have my sources.

To put it frankly, Luke has a very good chance of getting drafted. There's also a very good chance he doesn’t.

Insightful, I know.

I’m not allowed to disclose everything to you all, because my father said so. I have the power to share as much as I please; but if I share any more dirt, Luke might kill me.

Dirt, as in Luke has tri’s now and can all of a sudden move like a guard, and splashes long-range J’s like Jesus Shuttlesworth, and can slam jam tomahawk between-the-legs flush it, and hasn't stopped impressing coach after coach who regurgitates lines such as "You're climbing up the draft boards, son," thus affirming us common sense people who know his potential that he hasn't even scraped the surface and that his best days are ahead of him, and that story after story the boy shares is about how his under-the-radar self wows whoever is working him out, such as coaches witnessing him mark the best shooting performance of the draft class in one workout or clocking the second best all-time 3-minute shuttle run in another, but like I said, I will not share any of those things in fear of a severe talkin’ to from the Kornet men after doing so without permission.

Sorry not sorry

Point #3:
I’m in a pickle.

In one week I will be a free woman.

Free from 10-page papers, midterms, all-nighters, and two-hour seminars.

Free from constructing expense reports, answering phone calls, creating spreadsheets, restocking copy paper, and hightailing my high heels through the Hollywood Hills during lunch break.

As much as I have enjoyed my time at Wasserman, I will soon be relinquished of my intern duties.

As much as I have enjoyed my time at UCLA, I will no longer be a student there.

As much as I love California, I will no longer have a scholarship check to pay for my outrageous rent.

None of these things will stop me from fulfilling my lifelong dreams, of course. But as I’ve grown up, my dreams sorta have too.

California is my happy place.

But the Kornet family is, too.

My life is about to dramatically change in the upcoming months. It already has in many ways; but as soon as school ends, the floodgates of uncertainty are really about to drown me.

Do I try and pursue a TV career in California, and survive off of Top Ramen and thrift stores? Or do I head back home, start in a smaller market, and seek counsel from my mother?

Do I go into broadcasting, or do I take the wild and crazy plunge and pursue a professional basketball career overseas? (Despite my past denials of the sort.)

Do I accept the part-time position my coach has offered me at UCLA--the position of my dreams yet requires me to work two shifts a day in order to make ends meet--or do I find a more stable source of income in order to live more comfortably?

Do I move again like I always do, or do I stay put in my makeshift California home and continue to grow the relationships that have changed my life these past two years?

The bottom line is this: I have to have an income in order to pay my rent, put food on the table, and indulge in my favorite, frozen chocolate-covered bananas.

As you can tell, I’m in a pickle.

Someone once told me, “You don’t get to make choices in life. Life makes choices for you.”

I had a hard time believing this for a while. But as I’ve grown up, I've personally 
experienced this truth.

In one week I’ll have my answer. In one week the decision will be made for me. In one week life as I've known it will change.

And I couldn’t be more excited to see what God reveals, what doors God opens up, and where my little brother and I will be headed next because of it.

As always,
God bless, Anchor Down, Go Bruins, and Go Tigers

(John was a Tiger)


  1. You could have a great career in journalism. So many talents and so little time:) Can't wait to see where you and Luke land.

    Alice Swartz

  2. Bob and I just read this while sitton on the outdoor veranda in San Isidro la De General, Costa Rica and we are so impressed with all the Kornets....and following you all every step of the way. We will be on the internet tomorrow to witness the NBA Draft and hopefully seeing Luke sign with the Atlanta Hawks...We go to Atlanta frequently to see Jere and Sherry. You have many choices and don't forget journalism because girlfriend you can write....much love from Bob and Costa Rica, 4000 ft up in the mountains...every view is beautiful....