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Memorable moments in draft lottery history

Jennifer Pottheiser / National Basketball Association / Getty

Fourteen team representatives awkwardly sitting on a podium, hoping for good fortune. The NBA draft lottery is a strange event that can alter the history of a franchise while also spawning an entire cottage industry of conspiracy theories.

"If you don't get lucky, you just sit there like a big dork," longtime NBA coach Don Nelson once said.

Related: 2018 NBA Draft Lottery Guide

With the 2018 edition going Tuesday night in Chicago, here are five memorable moments from lottos past.

Mallory Edens becomes a viral star

Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Wesley Edens asked his daughter Mallory to rep the team at the 2014 lottery, and she became an overnight sensation. The then-18-year-old high school student gained 10,000 Twitter followers in one hour.

End result: The Bucks landed the second pick, drafting Jabari Parker. After four injury-plagued seasons, he now appears on his way out of Milwaukee.

Dan Gilbert's son Nick

Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert sent 14-year-old son Nick to the dais in 2011, a season after LeBron James left town for Miami. Nick turned out to be a good-luck charm: The Cavs won the lottery and the right to select Kyrie Irving.

End result: Unless you've been living under a rock, you know how all that shook out.

76ers' Croce goes wild


The Toronto Raptors actually won the 1996 NBA Draft lottery but, due to restrictive conditions placed on the first-year franchise, had to cede the No. 1 pick to the Philadelphia 76ers, whose then-owner Pat Croce promptly lost all composure, wildly high-fiving everyone in sight.

End result: The Sixers drafted Allen Iverson, who became synonymous with the franchise for a decade. The Raptors took Marcus Camby at No. 2.

Cavs win LeBron sweepstakes

The Cavaliers were particularly bad in 2002-03, while an 18-year-old phenom burned up the high-school hardwood in nearby Akron. At the lottery, the balls bounced the Cavs' way. This video also features lotto-night footage of Darko Milicic and Carmelo Anthony, who went second and third in the draft, respectively.

End result: LeBron - GOAT; Melo - Hall of Fame; Milicic - feeding tattoos beer.

Knicks land No. 1, kick off conspiracy era

Just look at the title of the above YouTube video. Some still believe the NBA fixed the 1985 lottery in order to deliver Patrick Ewing to the New York Knicks. The speculated method? In the days when lottery teams were randomly pulled from a drum, a frozen envelope cold to the touch would signal the Knicks' deviant triumph.

End result: Ewing went down as one of the greatest centers in NBA history, but the Knicks were 12 years removed from their last championship at the time of the 1985 lottery, and they're 45 years removed now.

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