On this date: An NBA Draft that transformed the association

On a day where college kids become professionals at the NBA Draft, it can be a tough task to accurately speculate or predict the future of 21-year-old college phenoms.

That task was especially true 31 years ago at the 1984 NBA Draft, held on June 19, 1984 at “The Mecca of Basketball” Madison Square Garden in New York. The draft turned out to not only be the most talented draft class, but a class that innovated and impacted the game of basketball in a way that no one could’ve imagined, and transformed the National Basketball Association as a whole.

“The history of basketball cannot be written without that group of guys. The class of ’84 ought to go down as the greatest class of all time.” -Michael Wilbon, sports journalist.

The Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers and Chicago Bulls held the top three picks, which as we all know, were Hakeem Olajuwon, a Center out of University of Houston; Sam Bowie, a Center out of Kentucky; and Michael Jordan, a Guard out of North Carolina.

The draft produced

  • five Hall of Fame inductees
    • Hakeem Olajuwon
    • Michael Jordan
    • Charles Barkley
    • John Stockton
    • Oscar Schmidt
  • seven All-Star players
    • Charles Barkley
      • 11x NBA All-Star (1987-1997)
    • Michael Jordan
      • 14x NBA All-Star (1985-1993, 1996-1998, 2002-2003)
    • Hakeem Olajuwon
      • 12x NBA All-Star (1985-1990, 1992-1997)
    • Alvin Robertson
      • 4x NBA All-Star (1986-1988, 1991)
    • John Stockton
      • 10x NBA All-Star (1989-1997, 2000)
    • Otis Thorpe (1992)
    • Kevin Willis (1992)
  • Three NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award winners
    • Michael Jordan
      • 5x NBA MVP (1988, 1991-1992,1996,1998)
    • Hakeem Olajuwon
      • NBA MVP (1994)
    • Charles Barkley
      • NBA MVP (1993)

The Hall of Famers John Stockton and Hakeem Olajuwon hold all-time NBA records in assists, steals, and blocks respectively as well as combined 12 trips to the Finals, 8 championships and two Defensive Player of the Year winners among Stockton, Olajuwon, Jordan and Barkley.

Much has been questioned and debated whether or not the Houston Rockets made the correct decision in drafting Olajuwon over Jordan. What strikes me is not only the Rockets had the option of drafting Jordan over Olajuwon, but the Blazers were willing to trade the Rockets the second pick plus Clyde Drexler for Ralph Sampson, which means the Rockets would’ve had the first pick, the second pick, and Drexler. Had the Rockets gone along and accepted the trade offer, they could’ve had a big three of Olajuwon, Drexler and Jordan. Talk about a dream team.

But all we can do is hope that a “Dream” comes true, which is exactly what the City of Houston received on the night of the 1984 NBA Draft followed by their two championships 10 years later in 1994 and 1995.

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