On Sept. 2, 1989, Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris were born seven minutes apart in North Philadelphia. On June 23, 2011, the twin brothers and former University of Kansas standouts were chosen back-to-back, just seven minutes and 13 seconds apart (thanks, ESPN Stats and Information), in the 2011 NBA draft, in Newark, N.J., about two hours away from their place of birth. Symmetry's a heck of a thing, ain't it?
The Morrises are the third set of twins to be chosen in the first round of the NBA's first-year player entry draft, following sibling pairs Horace and Harvey Grant, and Brook and Robin Lopez. Horace was the 10th overall pick of the Chicago Bulls in 1987, while Harvey went 12th to the Washington Bullets the following year. The New Jersey Nets chose Brook with the 10th pick in 2008; five picks later, Robin came off the board to the Phoenix Suns.
As he was in birth, Markieff Morris came first, going to those same Suns with the 13th selection in the first round of this year's entry draft. After his brother exited the green room and stepped to the podium, Marcus Morris briefly allowed the emotion of the moment to overtake him. It was a touching scene, one that drove home the likelihood that the twins, inseparable since birth, would find themselves on different teams and in different cities for the first time in their lives.
Shortly thereafter, in an interview televised on ESPN's draft coverage, a more composed Marcus cracked a joke about the prospect of splitting from Markieff.
"It ain't the end of the world. I'll see him again," he said. "I mean, I'll send him flowers or some fruit. It'll be good."
Marcus Morris (right) didn't have much time to compare gift basket prices, because minutes later, the Houston Rockets chose him with the 14th pick in the first round.
Jeff Eisenberg, the ace college basketball writer behind our Y! brother blog The Dagger, echoed the sentiments of many college and draft observers who were somewhat taken aback by Markieff Morris coming off the board before Marcus, who was named Big 12 Player of the Year last season.
"It's not a huge shock that Markieff Morris would go as high as No. 13 to Phoenix, but it's definitely a surprise he came off the board before his more highly regarded twin brother Marcus," Eisenberg wrote. "Maybe the fact that Markieff has a defined position at power forward made him more attractive to teams than his twin brother, a hybrid forward who critics say lacks the height to play in the paint and the lateral quickness to play on the perimeter."
Whatever the reasoning behind Phoenix electing to take Markieff, the seven-minutes-older brother noted a mix of elation and anxiety after hearing his named called.
"Once I was called, I still had a little, you know, a little pressure on me waiting for my brother to be called," Markieff Morris told reporters. "Once he was called, it just came off, and we are both grateful and thankful."
"It's just amazing. It's just amazing how things play out," Marcus Morris said. "[I'm] just thanking God. He really has a plan for us. It just plays out the exact way we wanted it to. It's just so amazing."
NOTE: An earlier version of this post mistakenly identified former Suns draft pick Taylor Griffin as the twin brother of Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin. The two are not twins; Taylor, whom Phoenix drafted in the second round in 2009, is three years older than Blake, who was the top overall pick in the 2009 draft. We regret the error.