Being drafted into the NBA is one of the biggest moments in the career of any professional basketball player, and the magnitude of that moment was not lost on Jaden Ivey. The Purdue Boilermakers star was selected No. 5 overall by the Detroit Pistons during last night’s NBA draft, and afterward, he was embraced by his mother, Niele Ivey, an ex-WNBA star and current Notre Dame women’s basketball coach.
The 20-year-old was able to compose himself while joining commissioner Adam Silver on stage, but it didn’t last long after that. When sitting down with ESPN for a post selection interview, a video from Arike Ogunbowale, a former player of Jaden’s mother, played with a message for the new draftee.
“I just want to say congratulations on being drafted in the first round,” Ogunbowale said in the pre-taped video. “That’s crazy I’m even saying this — just being this little boy grow up, wanting to be in the gym all the time, working on his game every day to become this young man, superstar athlete.”
She continued, “you’re about to go crazy in the league. I’m a firm believer that you’re really about to take over this lease. I love you, I'm proud of you, it’s your time to go crazy. I’m always in your corner.”
Ogunbowale and fellow WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith reportedly played a major role in developing Jaden while he traveled with his mother.
“Oh man, this [is] everything,” he told ESPN. “I worked day in, day out to get to this level. I know I wouldn't be here if it wasn’t for [my mother]. I’m just so happy.”
Niele also reacted to her son being a top 5 draft pick: “I’m speechless almost, this is his dream come true,” she said. “To be in Detroit, [we] have so many roots in Detroit. To be able to walk on that stage… I’m just so joyful, I’m so happy for him … just taking it all in.”
Watch the beautiful moment below.