NBA TV documentary: 1984 draft, greatest of all-time; Hakeem, Jordan, Barkley, and Bowie (Sorry, Portland)

Promising documentary on tap for tonight.

Here’s the rundown from NBA TV:


Three decades later, the 1984 NBA Draft class still stands as arguably the finest in league history.  NBA TV Originals’ latest film, “THE84DRAFT” — set to premiere Monday, June 9, at 9 p.m. ET — will reflect on the historic ’84 class, spotlighting the iconic players it produced and their lasting legacy, along with some of the unique stories associated with the other players whose names were called by David Stern, who as the newly-appointed NBA Commissioner was overseeing his first draft.

Hosted by Lakers star point guard Steve Nash, “THE84DRAFT” will examine how the 1984 NBA Draft ushered in four of the ‘50 Greatest Players in NBA History.’ The eight-time NBA All-Star and member of his own historic 1996 draft class will provide his insights into players he both looked up to and faced early in his career, beginning with the class’ first overall selection Hakeem Olajuwon.  Two picks later, Chicago tabbed a high-flying, dynamic guard Michael Jordan, who would later transcend the game and lead the Bulls and the league to new heights.  Two additional legends — Charles Barkley and John Stockton — would also be selected in the first round.

The film will include interviews with several of those closely associated with the draft while offering perspective on the class’ unique footprint on the game today.  It will also tell the stories of the draftees during their first years of their careers when Jordan began to fly, Barkley first showed signs of his larger than life personality and Stockton emerged to become one of the greatest setup men on the NBA stage.

In a draft that also included All-Stars Alvin Robertson, Otis Thorpe and Kevin Willis, the 1984 class also has the compelling stories of 10th overall pick Leon Wood, who would go on to become a respected referee; and 70th selection Rick Carlisle, who took his on-court experience of winning an NBA title with the Boston Celtics as a player to courtside as the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks where he led the team to its first championship. In addition, the class featured its fifth Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Oscar Schmidt, who never played in the NBA, but became a star on the international stage, competing in five Olympics for Brazil and becoming one of the top scorers in basketball history. Finally, there was Daniel Trant, the last pick in the draft, whose poignant story resonates well beyond the stat sheet and the sports pages.

Michael Jordan, in 1984:

“To be compared to Doctor J…I’d love to have the career he had.  Hopefully, I can make a name for myself.  I think ‘Michael Jordan’ sounds pretty good to me.”

Longtime Utah Jazz Head Coach Frank Layden, on first hearing about his future Hall of Fame point guard:

“Neil McCarthy, the great coach at Weber State, said to me, ‘Make sure you take a look at a kid named John Stockton at Gonzaga.  He’s the best guard I’ve seen in many years’ – and it went in one ear and right out the other.”

Stockton, on his career aspirations as a senior at Gonzaga:

“I heard there was basketball in Europe and I didn’t really know what that meant…didn’t really know how to get there.  I just thought that was the next logical step if I really wanted to continue playing, which I did.  I certainly had no thought I would ever have a chance to even try out for an NBA team let alone be drafted by one.”

Dallas Mavericks Head Coach Rick Carlisle, on his first experience as a Celtics player:

“I ended up going to rookie camp and played well enough to get an invite to veteran camp.  I got the opportunity to get out there and play with all-time greats Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Dennis Johnson.  At that moment, it was like ‘Wow…can this really be happening?’  Bird took me aside and he said, ‘You know, you’re going to make this team.  Just get ready.’”

“THE84DRAFT” is the latest in the long line of NBA TV Originals’ critically acclaimed films and specials that include the Sports Emmy Award-winner The Doctor, the Emmy-nominated The Dream Team, Mr. Russell’s House, Sir Charles at 50, One-on-One with Ahmad Rashad: Michael Jordan, Searching for Redemption: The Kermit Washington Story, and Wilt 100, as well as the network’s popular Open Court series.


One thought on “NBA TV documentary: 1984 draft, greatest of all-time; Hakeem, Jordan, Barkley, and Bowie (Sorry, Portland)

  1. In fairness to Bowie and this is what many, many fans forget…even WITH the injuries he still played eight solid years in the league and averaged in double figures in scoring four times.

    There are a lot of NBA players, including very high draft picks (hello…LaRue Martin) who would have loved to put up those numbers and played as long as Sam actually did in the league.

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