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Kobe Bryant's MVP Solidifies 1996 Draft Class as One of the Best of All-Time

John LombardSenior Analyst IMay 7, 2008

Kobe Bryant won his first NBA MVP yesterday after a jaw-dropping regular season.  That brings the total tally to four. 

No, not four MVP's for Kobe.  Four MVP's for the 1996 NBA Draft class.  Allen Iverson won the award in 2001, Steve Nash won it from 2005-2006, and Kobe Bryant took home the award this year.

The only other draft class with three future MVP's is the class of 1984 with MJ, Hakeem The Dream, and Sir Charles.  I'd say they are in pretty elite company.  

The 1996 class has more than just these three MVPs, however.  Some other notable players selected in this draft are:  Ray Allen, Marcus Camby, Stephon Marbury, Ben Wallace*, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kerry Kittles, Antoine Walker, Peja Stojakovich, Jermaine O'Neal, Zydrunas Ilguaskas, and Derek Fisher.  

Here are some accolades the draft class has piled up:

Steve Nash (2)
Kobe Bryant (1)
Allen Iverson (1)

Kobe Bryant (10)
Allen Iverson (9)
Ray Allen (8)
Steve Nash (6)
Jermaine O'Neal (6)
Ben Wallace (4)
Peja Stojakovich (3)
Antoine Walker (3)
Stephon Marbury (2)
Zydrunas Ilgauskas (2)
Shareef Abdur-Rahim (1)

All-NBA First Team
Kobe Bryant (5)
Steve Nash (3)
Allen Iverson (3)

All-NBA Second Team
Ben Wallace (3)
Allen Iverson (3)
Kobe Bryant (2)
Ray Allen (1)
Peja Stojakovich (1)
Jermaine O'Neal (1)

All-NBA Third Team
Ben Wallace (2)
Kobe Bryant (2)
Steve Nash (2)
Stephon Marbury (2)
Allen Iverson (1)
Jermaine O'Neal (1)
Ray Allen (1)

Defensive Player of the Year
Ben Wallace (4)
Marcus Camby (1)

All-NBA Defense Selectons
Kobe Bryant—First team (4) Second team (2)
Ben Wallace—First team (4) Second team (1)
Marcus Camby—First team (1) Second team (2)

NBA Scoring Titles
Kobe Bryant (2)
Allen Iverson (4)

Needless to say, the 1996 NBA draft is one of the deepest and most talented in NBA history.  The only thing they are really lacking is NBA championships.  Kobe Bryant, Ben Wallace, and Antoine Walker have 5 rings between them.  I guess I'll count Walker for the 2006 Heat championship.  

We may be calling this the best NBA draft of all-time in ten years, after this draft class has retired.  

*Ben Wallace wasn't drafted in 1996 but signed a rookie free agent contract and began play in the 1996-97 season.* 

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