Immediately following his selection as the first overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers, former Washington guard Markelle Fultz has informed the team he’d rather play in Saudi Arabia than for the Sixers.
Fultz, coming into the Draft, was regarded as the consensus first overall selection among this year’s draft. In order to secure Fultz, the Sixers recently traded for the first overall pick, held by Boston, in exchange for the third overall pick and a future first round pick.
However, Fultz was reportedly upset at the trade given how Boston is considered a contender for the Eastern Conference title while the Sixers are the NBA’s Cleveland Browns. Ultimately, this frustration boiled over Thursday night after Philadelphia officially selected Fultz first overall.
“I could’ve have a prosperous early start to my NBA career,” said Fultz after he was selected. “Instead, I’d rather go play in Saudi Arabia for a year or two. At least there I’d be able to improve as a player instead of withering away like a rotting cabbage.”
Fultz stated it’s well within his rights to refuse to play for the Sixers and “end up as a bench player for some average team three-to-four years from now”, especially with precedent set by former high draft picks in previous professional sports drafts.
“If John Elway, Eli Manning and other white college quarterbacks can force a trade after being picked by a team they didn’t want to play for, why can’t I,” asked Fultz. “Why does a brother have to be stuck playing for whoever drafts them in the NBA. At this rate, I’d pull a Bo Jackson if a baseball team selected me in the 644th round of this year’s MLB Draft.”
Fultz said earlier this week he had been contacted by several teams playing in the Saudi Premier League, including one owned by the Prince of Nigeria.
When reach out for comment, the Sixers refused to comment on Fultz’s statement.