|Date(s) June 19, 1984||Network(s) (US) USA Network|
|Location Felt Forum, New York City, New York|
First selection Akeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
The 1984 NBA draft was the 37th annual draft of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The draft was held at the Felt Forum at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York, on June 19, 1984, before the 1984–85 season. The draft was broadcast in the United States on the USA Network. In this draft, 23 NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players and other eligible players, including international players. The Houston Rockets won the coin flip and were awarded the first overall pick, while the Portland Trail Blazers, who obtained the Indiana Pacers' first-round pick in a trade, were awarded the second pick. The remaining first-round picks and the subsequent rounds were assigned to teams in reverse order of their win–loss record in the previous season. The Cleveland Cavaliers were awarded an extra first-round draft pick as compensation for the draft picks traded away by their previous owner, Ted Stepien. A player who had finished his four-year college eligibility was automatically eligible for selection. Before the draft, five college underclassmen announced that they would leave college early and would be eligible for selection. Prior to the draft, the San Diego Clippers relocated to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Clippers. The draft consisted of 10 rounds comprising the selection of 228 players. This draft was the last to be held before the creation of the Draft Lottery in 1985. It was also the first NBA Draft to be overseen by David Stern.
The draft is generally considered to be one of the greatest in NBA history, with four Hall of Famers being drafted in the first sixteen picks and five overall.
The Houston Rockets used their first pick to draft Akeem Olajuwon, a junior center from the University of Houston. The Nigerian-born Olajuwon became the second foreign-born player to be drafted first overall, after Mychal Thompson from the Bahamas in 1978. The Portland Trail Blazers used the second overall pick to draft Sam Bowie from the University of Kentucky. The Chicago Bulls used the third pick to draft Naismith and Wooden College Player of the Year Michael Jordan from the University of North Carolina. Jordan went on to win the Rookie of the Year Award and was also selected to the All-NBA Second Team in his rookie season. Jordan's teammate at North Carolina, Sam Perkins, was drafted fourth by the Dallas Mavericks. Charles Barkley, a junior forward from Auburn University, was drafted fifth by the Philadelphia 76ers.
Olajuwon, Jordan and Barkley, along with the 16th pick John Stockton and the 131st pick Oscar Schmidt, have been inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. They were also named in the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History list announced at the league's 50th anniversary in 1996. Olajuwon's achievements include two NBA championships, two Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, one Most Valuable Player Award, two Defensive Player of the Year Awards, twelve All-NBA Team selections, twelve All-Star Game selections and nine All-Defensive Team selections. Olajuwon retired as the all–time league leader in total blocked shots with 3,830 blocks. The third pick, Jordan, achieved even greater success than Olajuwon. He won six NBA championships, six Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, five Most Valuable Player Awards, one Defensive Player of the Year Award, eleven All-NBA Team selections, fourteen All-Star Game selections, three NBA All Star Game MVP Awards, and nine All-Defensive Team selections. Barkley and Stockton never won an NBA championship, but both players received numerous awards and honors. Barkley won the Most Valuable Player in 1993 and was selected to eleven All-NBA Teams, eleven All-Star Games, and was the MVP of the 1991 All Star Game. Stockton was selected to eleven All-NBA Teams, ten All-Star Games and five All-Defensive Teams before retiring as the all–time league leader in assists and steals and was co-MVP of the 1993 All Star Game along with his Utah Jazz teammate Karl Malone. Jordan, Barkley and Stockton would later play as teammates for the 1992 "Dream Team". Alvin Robertson, the seventh pick, is the only other player from this draft who has won annual NBA awards as a player; he won both the Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Most Improved Player Award in 1986. He was also selected to one All-NBA Team, four All-Star Games, six consecutive All-Defensive Teams, Two other players from this draft, ninth pick Otis Thorpe and eleventh pick Kevin Willis, were also selected to one All-Star Game each. Willis also had one selection to the All-NBA Team. Rick Carlisle, the 70th pick, became a coach after ending his playing career and won the Coach of the Year Award in 2002 while coaching the Detroit Pistons. In 2011, he coached the Dallas Mavericks to an NBA Championship.
The 1984 draft class is considered to be one of the best in NBA history as it produced five Hall of Famers and seven All-Stars. However, it was also marked by the Blazers' selection of Sam Bowie, considered one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history. It is believed that the Blazers picked Bowie over Michael Jordan because they already had an All Star shooting guard in Jim Paxson and a young shooting guard in Clyde Drexler, whom they drafted in the 1983 draft. Although Drexler went on to have a successful career, Bowie's career was cut short by injuries; he had missed two of the past three seasons in his college career as well. Despite having a 10-year career in the NBA and averaging 10.9 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, Bowie's career was interrupted by five leg surgeries, which limited him to 139 games in 5 years with the Blazers.
Brazilian Oscar Schmidt was drafted with the 131st pick in the sixth round by the New Jersey Nets. However, Schmidt turned down the offers to play in the NBA and stayed to play in Italy and later in Brazil. He played in five Olympics and was the top scorer in three of them. He finished his career with 49,703 points with various clubs and the Brazilian national team, more than the NBA's career scoring leader, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who scored 38,387 points in his NBA career. In 2010, International Basketball Federation (FIBA) honored Schmidt with an induction to the FIBA Hall of Fame, and Schmidt was inducted by the Naismith Hall in 2013. University of Houston track and field athlete Carl Lewis, who had never played college basketball, was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 208th pick in the 10th round. Lewis, who had also been drafted in NFL draft of the same year by the Dallas Cowboys, stayed with his athletics career and went on to win nine Olympic gold medals and eight World Championships gold medals. In the fifth round, the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Mike Whitmarsh, who starred for the University of San Diego in both basketball and volleyball, with the 111th pick. Whitmarsh played professional basketball in Germany for three years, but never played in the NBA. He then left basketball to play beach volleyball, where he achieved greater success, including a silver medal in the Olympics.
Notable post-second round picks
The following list includes other draft picks who have appeared in at least one NBA game.
The following trades involving drafted players were made on the day of the draft.
Prior to the day of the draft, the following trades were made and resulted in exchanges of picks between the teams.