Aaron Gordon will spend this week making appearances around New York City, hosting 15 proud family members and friends for a Theatre District dinner, then learning where he will likely live out the next four years of his life as a multimillionaire.
All that could be too much for an 18-year-old to handle, but the former Arizona Wildcat freshman forward knows where to turn for help:
To the same face he played with and against in all those backyard games around the hoop of his San Jose, California, home.
Elise Gordon, fresh out of Harvard with a degree and four years of college basketball experience, is planning and tracking all of her brother’s personal appearances this week.
Then, wherever Aaron lands, she plans to accompany him to help with his personal business while spending a year preparing for law school. If the team that picks Aaron has an appealing law school nearby, she may apply there and stick around for a while longer, too.
Brother and sister might even live together again.
“If not together, in very close quarters,” Elise said.
It’s an “internship” of sorts, a temporary life, that Elise Gordon couldn’t have asked more for as an aspiring lawyer who is aiming to work around basketball in some fashion.
“I just love the sport and being around my family,” Elise said. “The fact that I can work with my family and still be close to basketball, doing managerial stuff, is right up my alley.
“I might be a personal assistant, or possibly an agent. Right now there are so many doors open, I don’t have to commit. There’s just so much I can absorb.”
It started this spring, with Elise helping BDA Sports, the agency that Aaron and older brother Drew are represented by, carry out Aaron’s schedule. Already, Aaron has gone through five team workouts, plus a BDA workout in Los Angeles, and weeks of training at a facility in Santa Barbara, California.
In between, there have been brief trips home, where Aaron, Drew and Elise have managed to hang out for brief moments.
That’s when mom gets a chance to throw in a word or two. But, Shelly Davis Gordon says, not too much.
“I always tell him to get a decent haircut,” Shelly said of Aaron. “He comes home and wants to dump out his dirty clothes from his suitcase, then goes back out again. So I can’t say I’ve had a lot of time to talk philosophy about life with him. Sometimes he’s here just a day or two.”
But while both of Aaron’s parents have full-time jobs anchoring them to the Bay area, Elise has been able to always be there for her brother.
This week, things get more hectic than ever. There are two appearances today, an entire day of media, photo and brunch obligations on Wednesday, and more obligations Thursday before draft night begins in Brooklyn.
The pre-draft highlight figures to be Wednesday night, when Gordon’s 80-something grandparents, his high school coach, multiple relatives and UA coach Sean Miller are invited to a dinner at a theatre district restaurant.
“It’ll be a big dinner with family, friends and guests — everybody who supported Aaron — before the madness starts,” Elise said. “It’s kind of a celebration and a ‘thank you’ that we made it.”
Of course, it’s also only the beginning.
On Thursday night, Gordon’s projected draft range of 4-10 suggests he’ll earn a rookie-scale contract between $2-3.3 million per year. He’ll be guaranteed that amount for two years, with his team getting options for years three and four.
That’s a long time, a lot of money, and a lot of work ahead. Maybe even a lot of pressure.
But Elise and the rest of the Gordon family are ready to help.
“We do have a pretty good support system backing him up,” Elise says. “It’s kind of like the freshman year in college, where you become independent, living on your own. We are at the point where we can move around, so it just worked out really nicely. I think it’s going to be a great experience.”