In a room packed full of promising hopefuls, looking to make a mark at one of men’s basketball’s showpiece occasions, it can be hard for some prospects to stand out at the NBA draft.
Gradey Dick didn’t encounter any such problems – his red sequinned suit, inspired by ‘The Wizard of Oz’ movie, immediately caught the eye at this year’s draft at Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn Nets, in New York on Thursday.
The former Kansas Jayhawks guard-forward was chosen as the No.13 pick by the Toronto Raptors but it was his choice of outfit that stole the headlines.
In addition to the ruby suit, Dick also wore shoes with red soles and a silver chain.
“I’m from Kansas,” Dick said ahead of the NBA Draft ceremony. “You’ve got the ‘Wizard of Oz’ with Dorothy and her red slippers, I kind of put that into the jacket.”
Regarded as one of the greatest movies of all time, “The Wizard of Oz” transplants Dorothy Gale, played by Judy Garland, along with her little terrier, Toto, from the Kansas farm where she lived with her Auntie M and Uncle Henry to a mysterious place called Oz.
“I’m just being goofy in myself,” added Dick, who was born in Wichita, Kansas. “People are going to think I’m crazy but the mentality was that I’m going to wear this suit probably once in my entire life so I might as well just go all out.”
Dick, who is 6 feet 8 inches tall, opted to leave Kansas after his freshman season for the NBA after forgoing the remainder of his college availability.
His mother, Carmen, enjoyed an accomplished college career playing basketball for Iowa State in the 1980s.
The 19-year-old, known for his shooting, averaged 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game in his one season with the Jayhawks.
Dick also set a University of Kansas freshman record for three-point field goals, making a total of 83.
Off the court, Dick has become known for his charismatic personality and love for social media – the youngster has over 170,000 followers on TikTok.
His popularity is only set to soar and he’s already been noticed by celebrity A-listers, with Canadian rapper and Toronto Raptors fan Drake following him on Instagram.
“I need Drake to wear my jersey. That’s the priority,” Dick joked with reporters at the ceremony on Thursday.
But while his off court antics have certainly made an impression, Dick said he was focused on making an early impact now that he’s off to see his new team, which failed to make the NBA playoffs last season.
The Raptors were the NBA champion in 2019 – the first team outside the US to manage that feat.
“I couldn’t think of a better place for me to get drafted to. Just the city and people combined is just amazing,” he told reporters.
“I know what I can bring to a team and I just want to come into that and perfect the role I’m given by the coach.”