As Dereck Lively II was walking through the United Center in Brooklyn, New York, on draft night, a familiar face shouted "teammate" as he passed by.
Lively II looks to his left and sees fellow rookie, Olivier-Maxence Prosper. The two then embrace with a few handshakes, a hug, and endless smiles. Both players were excited to make their dreams come true of playing in the NBA as they were both drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft.
The interaction was heartfelt, and they both seemed ecstatic to be new teammates on the Mavericks.
A brotherhood begins: Dallas Mavericks' rookies embark on NBA journey together
Prosper later even described that first interaction as having a spark.
A few days later, the Mavericks hosted their introductory press conference for their two first-round picks, and their bond seemed to have grown even more. Lively II was asked about their friendship and talked about how nice it was to not be going through his rookie year alone. He had Prosper to go through it with him.
"He's going to be my brother through this and I know I'm going to be his."- Dereck Lively II
As Lively II was saying this, Prosper was smiling ear to ear. Their friendship was just getting started, and both of them seemed genuinely happy to have a friend with him to go through all the challenges of being an NBA rookie.
Fast forward ten days and the rookie duo is doing everything together. They watch practice together, lift weights, and give each other advice.
"It's fun to have someone to lean on and I know he's going to lean on me. We always have each other's backs."- Dereck Lively II
Lively II also talked about how he and Prosper are "going through an empty room and trying to figure out where the walls are at." Being a rookie in the NBA clearly isn't easy, and these two rookies get to start their professional careers together. They will go through the highs and lows together and grow together as men and basketball players.
"We can play many years here (in Dallas) together and grow and build that connection over the years."- Olivier-Maxence Prosper
The first chance for fans to see Prosper and Lively II together in action will be on July 8 in a Summer League game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. We'll have you covered with all the news surrounding D-Live and O-Max's journey together as rookies in the NBA, so stay tuned.