On NBA Draft night, surely no European player – not even the mysterious (to the American market) Enes Kanter – drew as much notice as no. 6 overall Jan Vesely. In a serious case of instant fame injection, the Czech big man leapt into the collective consciousness thanks to a post-draft smooch and the resulting publicity for a YouTube clip collection that challenges young Senor Rubio’s in terms of imagination-bending awesomeness.
As BallinEurope this morning runs down Vesely’s video record, firstly here’s the introduction of no. 6 by David Stern and *that kiss*.
For the record, the blonde beauty is Eva Koudousková, who apparently hopped a plane to Newark with Vesely. The 22-year-old played for Team Czech Republic in 2009 at the U20 European Championship Women tournament.
In the post-draft interview, assembled media naturally prompted Vesely on playing with John Wall. Like most NBA fans and Washington Wizards backers in particular, the Czech is imagining a wild, open-court game with speed to burn (hey, they’ve also added Florida State’s Chris Singleton, a steal at no. 18). Could D.C. have the most exciting team west of the Mississippi in 2011-12?
And what does Wall himself think? Well, pleased as punch, he’s describing the Wizards as a “highlight team” – and he’s even considering the defensive potential.
Think they’re proud of Vesely in his home country? You bet they are! Over there, they’re calling the man “the Czech hoops ambassador” while looking for him “to achieve greater success than predecessors such as Jiří Zídek and Jiří Welsch.” Vesely’s already got a good start on making Czech history, having been drafted higher than any player from the country in NBA history: Welsch got his named called at no. 16 overall, while Zidek was taken at no. 22.
News outlet The Czech Position reckons that, with a little success, Vesely is set to make a major impact on the popularity of the game in the Czech Republic, where “the sport used to play a more prominent role in Czech life, as Czechoslovakia was one of Europe’s most competitive countries in inter-European competition.”
Since Vesely’s popularity on YouTube has increased by approximately 100,000% since Friday night, BiE runs the NBA-created highlight clip below.
Meanwhile, the now-famous “Jan Vesely – Dunking Ninja” collection posted two years ago has seen a ridiculous jump in popularity with a view count now surpassing 360,000 thanks primarily to a tout from Bill “The Sports Guy” Simmons over at ESPN/Grantland.com. Said clip runs below – as if YouTube user Ousvec needs a further increase in view count…
Welcome to the NBA, Jan Vesely! BiE wishes you best of success.