Any doubt that Emeka Okafor was always the preferred choice of the Charlotte Bobcats was erased the moment the NBA draft began.
The Bobcats, nervously waiting with the No. 2 overall pick Thursday night, exploded in a celebration of high-fives when the Orlando Magic made Dwight Howard the first pick in the draft.
Team owner Bob Johnson nodded his head in delight and a crowd of about 10,000 fans began cheering wildly.
With Howard gone, it was clear the Bobcats were getting their man.
"He seems to be the prototype of the kind of player you want to build a new franchise around and the ovation just means that we got what I believe to be the people's choice," said Johnson
Okafor, a 6-foot-10 forward from Connecticut, becomes the first pick in franchise history.
Since swapping the No. 4 overall pick with the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this week for the second overall selection, the Bobcats said they would be happy with either Okafor or Howard, the high school phenom from Atlanta.
But deep down, it was Okafor they always wanted. Only there was little they could do sitting at No. 2, waiting and guessing who Orlando would take at No. 1.