SACRAMENTO -- Her Lebanese grandmother had a ticket for the Titanic's fatal voyage and missed the boat. Literally missed the boat.
Now, I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty darn lucky. What are the odds of that happening? Probably about the same as Margie Parilo -- an original Sacramento Kings season-ticket holder -- winning the contest to represent the team tonight at the NBA Draft lottery without mentioning her incredible good fortune or formidable bloodlines. Seriously. This would be like a comedian forgetting to deliver the punch line and still being summoned for an encore.
Officially, Parilo won because her entry was selected from the original batch of 192 written submissions, because she received a significant percentage of the 17,419 fan votes cast for the video presentations of the six finalists, and because during the "lottery" conducted May 10 at Chris Webber's Center Court restaurant, the pingpong balls bounced her way.
The Kings hope things bounce their way tonight, when the team has a 0.7 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick. That unlikely fortune would allow Sacramento to choose between a talented crop of draft entries, highlighted by Michael Beasley (Kansas State) and Derrick Rose (Memphis), who both left college after their freshman season.
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The Warriors, positioned in the 14th and final spot of the lottery, have a 0.5 percent chance of landing the top pick.
"My luck obviously started with my grandmother (Sophia Bounejum)," Parilo conceded last week, "and I really can't believe I forgot to say something about that. She was an immigrant who lived to be 101 and died right here in Sacramento. This is all forcing me to dig into my background a little more."
What else do Kings fans need to know about the person who will fly first class to New York, stay for two nights in a five-star Manhattan hotel, be driven in a limousine to NBA Entertainment headquarters early this evening, and attempt to improve the Kings' current No. 12 draft positioning?
Parilo, a native Sacramentan and oldest of four girls, describes a childhood spent "doing all the girlie things," including membership in the Girl Scouts, playing the piano and watching the boys play sports.
"The only memory I have of sports," Parilo continued, "is I remember winning a basketball once, and my husband, Mike, who lived down the street when we were kids, would borrow it. I would follow him to the courts because the ball was mine, and I didn't want it to disappear."