Written by Ben Pogany
Without a doubt, 1984 will go down as the greatest NBA draft class of all time. An insane four future hall-of-famers would mount the stage that day roughly a quarter-century ago, smiling for the cameras and embarking upon their new professions for which they would come to forever alter. And so here is the perfect place to start our ongoing NBA Draft series. 10 draft classes will be broken down, not with the 10 first picks but the 10 best picks of each class. Rankings will be determined by a combination of both each player's future success in the league and the value that might be garnered from where they were selected. And so without further ado, the #1 NBA Draft class of all-time, the magical year of 1984.
- Michael Jordan-UNC to the Chicago Bulls (3) -"And with the third pick of the 1984 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select Michael Jeffery Jordan." And with those words, the Bulls and for that matter the entire league would never be the same. In the years to follow, "His Airness" would lead his team to six NBA championships, compile 5 MVPs, and ultimately take his place as the greatest man to ever play the game. And to think, the Trailblazers passed on him for a 7'1'' center named Sam Bowie. Whoops.
- John Stockton-Gonzaga to the Utah Jazz (16) -To think that fifteen teams passed on this guy is downright heresy. However, when Utah's turn came, they wasted no time in snatching up the Zags senior. Almost 16,000 assists later and its safe to say that move was the right one.
- Charles Barkley-Auburn to the Philidadelphia 76ers (obtained for the LA Clippers) (5) - Sir Charles. The Ground Mound of Rebound. The Mouth (okay I made that nickname up) wasted no time in becoming one of the league's top rebounders
- Hakeem Olajuwon-Houston to the Houston Rockets (1) -A member of the Phi Slama Jama University of Houston teams (3 consecutive Final Fours alongside Clyde Drexler), its easy to see how the Rockets went with this Nigerian sensation at #1, however ill-advised passing on Jordan might have turned out to be. Hakeem the Dream eventually led his squad to two NBA championships, earning series MVP honors in each.
- Kevin Willis- Michigan St to the Atlanta Hawks (11) -In his 23 years in the NBA, the 7 foot center amassed 17, 253 points, 11,901 rebounds, and a ring in '03.
- Alvin Robertson-Arkansas to the San Antonio Spurs (7) -Robertson won an Olympic gold right off the bat, and from there went of to become one San Antonio's greatest defenders, twice leading the league in steals and serving in 4 all-star games.
- Sam Perkins-UNC to the Dallas Mavericks (4) -Perkins wasted no time in assuming star status, co-captaining the 1984 US team to a gold medal, and getting named to the 84-85 all-rookie team. "Big Smooth" ended his career with an impressive 15,324 points.
- Jerome Kersey- Longwood to the Portland Trail Blazers (46) - Any time you can get over 11,000 career points out of a 46-pick, you've got to count that as a victory.
- Michael Cage-San Diego State to the Los Angeles Clippers (obtained from the Supersonics) (14) Nicknamed "Windexman" for his ability to clean the glass ie rebound well (admittedly not the best nickname). In 15 NBA seasons, Cage amassed over 8,000 points and rebounds.
- Otis Thorpe-Providence to the Kansas City Kings (9) -Thorpe would eventually join Hakeem in bringing the Rockets their first championship.
--Olympic legend Carl Lewis was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 208th pick though he never actually played a game in the NBA.
--Current Dallas Maverick coach Rick Carlisle was selected with the 70th pick by the Boston Celtics. He won a championship with them in '86, though he only averaged 2.2 points a game and served in more of a reserve role.