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Chinese National Yao Ming Goes to the Rockets

McFarlane Toys staffers Dave Gittleman, Jeff "Big Daddy" Riffo and Matt Barchetto had the opportunity to attend the 2002 National Basketball Association Draft Wednesday evening, June 26, at Madison Square Garden.

    The three reported the evening was an amazing event for basketball fans and one of the most anticipated NBA drafts in recent years. There was excitement boiling over from the crowd not to mention commentator and ex-NBA star Charles Barkley turning up the volume quite a few times! Even the trades and deals that everyone anticipated were turned upside down.

    The first 10 picks were the most entertaining from the perspective of the crowd. The McFarlane guys were seated right in the middle of a very "vocal" group of people who led many chants. Fortunately, the seats were situated close to where the draftees exited the stage, so they had a good view.

    Of course, the obvious question on the staffers' minds: Which of the new NBA rookies would be first to have an action figure made by McFarlane Toys?

    Here are the Top 10 2002 NBA Draft picks:

  1. Houston Rockets, Yao Ming, center, Shanghai Sharks (China). Note: Ming is the first foreign player that didn't play college ball in the U.S. to go No. 1 in the draft.
  2. Chicago Bulls, Jay Williams, guard, Duke University
  3. Golden State Warriors, Mike Dunleavy, guard/forward, Duke University
  4. Memphis Grizzlies, Drew Gooden, forward, Kansas
  5. Denver Nuggets, Nikoloz Tskitishvili, forward, Italy
  6. Cleveland Cavaliers, Dajuan Wagner, guard, Memphis
  7. New York Knicks, Maybyner "Nene" Hilario, forward/center, Brazil (rights traded to Denver)
  8. L.A. Clippers (from Atlanta), Chris Wilcox, forward, Maryland
  9. Phoenix Suns, Amare Stoudemire, forward, Cypress Creek HS (Fla.)
  10. Miami Heat, Caron Butler, forward, Connecticut

    Final words from the McFarlane boys: For you basketball fans, if you didn't catch the draft live or on television you really missed out!

All stories are Copyright © and TMP International, Inc., and may not be reprinted without permission.

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