As expected RJ Barrett went No. 3 overall to the New York Knicks on Thursday. What the former Duke standout couldn’t prepare for was the wave of emotions that came with finally making his NBA dream a reality.
Neither could his father, Rowan Barrett.
After the pick was announced, RJ cried on his dad’s shoulder and Rowan choked up a little too while talking to ESPN.
In a very emotional moment, Rowan tells RJ, “I’m proud of you son,” before the father and son duo share a hug.
Barrett has been a highly-touted prospect since his early teens, and while he was overshadowed at Duke by the human highlight reel Zion Williamson — who was drafted No. 1 overall — the 6-foot-7 guard is expected to fit right in at the next level.
He averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists during his freshman year with the Blue Devils.
Steve Nash Reacts to RJ Barrett At NBA Draft
RJ Barrett has a special connection to a former NBA MVP who was more than happy to see him come off the board.
Steve Nash is Barrett’s godfather and has watched him grow up around the game of basketball.
Nash was good friends with Barrett’s dad, Rowan, who played with Nash on the 2000 Canadian Olympic team in Sydney, Australia.
“He’s becoming an adult before our eyes,” Nash previously Sports Illustrated. “With all he’s gone through and what’s been thrown at him—as a human, it’s awesome to see him grow. As a basketball player, that’s just been out of this world.”
Nash joked around the time Barrett was selected about his godson heading to the Knicks.
Rowan Barrett was welcoming to a young Nash during his time with the national team, something the future MVP would never forget.
“He made me feel at home,” Nash told SI. “And comfortable with a bunch of guys I’d never met before.”
Rowan Barrett reportedly asked Nash to be RJ’s godfather after he bought the family a crib and was in the prime of his NBA career at 26 years old.
“I do remember being asked to be [his] godfather, but the memory is kind of vague now. But obviously, I was thrilled,” Nash told The Undefeated. “At the time, we were still relatively young. So to be asked that at that age was like, ‘Holy s—! It is getting real out here.’ Obviously, you’re thrilled. I love kids.”
Reaction to RJ Barrett Pick
The pick was all but expected, but being made official, the reactions started to come out on the pick.
SBNation graded the pick as a B+, saying the following:
New York’s delusions of pairing Zion Williamson and Kevin Durant next season have already gone up in smoke. That makes R.J. Barrett a consolation prize with the third pick, but one that still offers value.
Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo broke down the pick, giving it an A.
While most scouts agree Barrett is likely to have a productive, quality career, there is some debate about his style of play and whether it will be conducive to winning games. He’s a natural scorer who should be able to continue doing so at the NBA level, but relentlessly hunts shots to the point where it can be a detractor.