Tip-Off Timer: '84 Draft Stands Alone
We've already talked about the most disastrous draft in NBA history (1986) and the calamity it caused, but if you backtrack two years, you can make a good case for just the opposite, the finest class of players ever to enter the league at one time.
The '84 NBA Draft stands alone.
This is the Draft that produced four future Hall of Famers, three others that played in at least one All-Star Game, and a handful of guys who had long and productive NBA careers.
Hakeem Olajuwon (pictured above shortly after being selected first overall), one of the best centers in league history; Michael Jordan (No. 3) the greatest player of our generation; Charles Barkley (No. 5), whose freakish skills made him a game-changing power forward; and John Stockton (No. 16), among the all-time great point guards, each was voted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Alvin Robertson (No. 7), Otis Thorpe (No. 9) and Kevin Willis (No. 11) all became NBA All-Stars. Jay Humphries (No. 13), Michael Cage (No. 14), Jeff Turner (No. 17), Vern Fleming (No. 18), Tony Campbell (No. 20) and Jerome Kersey (No. 46) became good role players in the league.
Also in that 1984 Draft was track and field star Carl Lewis (No. 208), the Olympic Gold Medalist who never played in the NBA. Still, he was an intriguing pick in the final year before the league instituted the Draft Lottery.
The Draft also will be remembered for the decision by the Portland Trail Blazers to pass up Jordan with the No. 2 pick and take center Sam Bowie instead. Although everyone loved Jordan, the Blazers already had shooting guard Clyde Drexler, a star to be, and they needed a center. Even Bowie, who never lived up to expectations, played 10 years in the league.
The Hall of Fame Four accumulated seven Most Valuable Player Awards, 23 All-NBA first-team mentions and played in 45 NBA All-Star Games, setting themselves apart from all other classes.
The 1996 Draft class had its share of superstars with Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash – all headed to the Hall of Fame -- while 2003 boosts LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade.
Yet it's still going to be tough to beat the Famed Class of '84.