August 20, 2022

Detroit – What time it was.

Shortly after Jaden Ivey, selected fifth in the NBA Draft on Thursday night, was introduced as the Detroit Piston for the first time Friday at Rouge Park, Vice President Arn Tellem had a trick up his sleeve.

The “fairy tale”, as Pistons coach Dwane Casey called it, became even more surreal.

Javin Hunter, father of Jaden Ivey, consoles his son Jaden Ivey as he is overcome with emotion with Niele Ivey, mother of Jaden Ivey, during an introductory press conference Friday at Rouge Park in Detroit.

Along with Ivey’s new Pistons jersey – he’ll be wearing No. 23, by the way – Tellem had a few extra jerseys to give away in honor of Detroit’s sporting ties that bind Ivey to his new home: a Detroit Shock jersey for his mother, Niele Ivey; a Detroit Country Day School basketball jersey for his father, Javin Hunter; and a Detroit Lions jersey honoring Ivey’s late grandfather, James Hunter.

For the second time in as many days, the gesture instantly brought Ivey to tears.

“You could kinda see my emotions,” Ivey said. “Just my family, what they’ve been through all their life and what they’ve worked for, they’ve helped me get to this point, just to see all the shirts, it made me emotional.”

Here’s the thing: These jerseys, Tellem told Niele, were made more than three weeks ago — “just in case,” he said.

As parents, Javin and Niele’s number one desire for Ivey is to know he’s in the right place. Of course, he is in a place he knows well, that he learned to love during his childhood. But is he in the right place with the right people? The Pistons have gone out of their way to make sure the answer is yes.