With the 2014 NBA draft approaching, it's only appropriate that NBA TV's next original film—The84Draft—focuses on the one draft night that impacted the league like none other before or since.
The84Draft will debut on Monday, June 9, at 9 p.m. ET on NBA TV. Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash will narrate the documentary:
By now, most basketball fans are well aware of what unfolded on June 19, 1984, in Madison Square Garden. Four Hall of Famers were selected in the first round—Hakeem Olajuwon to the Houston Rockets, Michael Jordan to the Chicago Bulls, Charles Barkley to the Philadelphia 76ers and then John Stockton to the Utah Jazz.
What The84Draft will do is shed new light on what went on behind the scenes leading into and on the night of the historic '84 draft, much The Dream Team and The Doctor did for their respective subjects.
For instance, the Portland Trail Blazers' decision to pass on Jordan in order to take Sam Bowie has lived on in infamy. Portland watched on as Jordan went on to become arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport. He and the Bulls also beat the Blazers in the 1992 NBA Finals.
However, few fans know of how much a coin toss meant toward the Bulls' selection of Jordan.
Bulls.com's Adam Fluck recounted how Chicago lost a coin toss with the Los Angeles Lakers to determine which team would have the No. 1 overall pick in the 1979 draft. The Lakers won and selected Magic Johnson, while the Bulls went with David Greenwood.
"Nothing against Greenwood, who was a good player and a good guy," said Irwin Mandel, a senior vice president for Chicago. "But with Magic, we never would have had a bad enough record to draft Jordan five seasons later."
That's only one of the stories that fans can count on to be featured in The84Draft.
The documentary will focus on not only the biggest stars but also those who have gotten overshadowed over the years like Kevin Willis, Sam Perkins, Otis Thorpe and Alvin Robertson.
Other notable players to have been selected in '84 include Rick Carlisle, who led the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA title in 2011, and Oscar Schmidt, who had a storied career in Brazil and Europe en route to being enshrined in the Hall of Fame in 2013.
Also included will be stories of draftees like Dan Trant, who was selected by the Boston Celtics with the last pick of the draft and never played in the NBA. He was a victim of the terrorist attacks in New York City on Sept. 11.
You can get a taste of what's to come with the promo below detailing some of the clashes that Barkley had with Bobby Knight, who was head coach of the United States ahead of the '84 Olympics.
You can't downplay exactly how much the '84 draft meant for the NBA. It helped to set the stage for what would be another boom period for the league in terms of quality and popularity after Larry Bird and Magic Johnson both trailed off and eventually retired.
Olajuwon, Jordan, Stockton and Barkley would go on to become some of the best at their respective positions. The quartet won a combined seven MVP awards and were named to the All-NBA First Team 23 times and All-Star Game 46 times.
Imagine the NBA landscape had things gone differently.
Jordan doesn't win six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls, and who knows how the careers of Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson would've been affected?
Stockton wouldn't have formed his legendary partnership with Karl Malone in Utah, which means the pair wouldn't have revolutionized the pick-and-roll offense.
Olajuwon doesn't perfect his patented "Dream Shake" in Houston and help bring two NBA titles to the Rockets in 1994 and 1995. You could even argue that without the presence of Olajuwon behind the scenes, Houston doesn't land Dwight Howard in free agency.
Although Barkley's departure from the 76ers was somewhat acrimonious, he served as the fulcrum of the franchise after Julius Erving retired and Moses Malone was traded to the Washington Bullets.
The 2014 draft class is lauded as one of the best in recent memory, with Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid and Dante Exum headlining the crop of incoming rookies.
Those guys have a long way to go, though, to outdo the class of '84.
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