The 1996 NBA draft was the 50th draft in the National Basketball Association (NBA). It was held on June 26, 1996 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The draft was broadcast in the United States on the Turner Network Television. In this draft, NBA teams took turns selecting college basketball players and other first-time eligible players, such as players from high schools and non-North American leagues. The Vancouver Grizzlies had the highest probability to win the NBA draft lottery, but since they were an expansion team along with the Toronto Raptors, they were not allowed to select first in this draft. The team with the second highest probability, the Philadelphia 76ers won the lottery and obtained the first selection. The Toronto Raptors and the Vancouver Grizzlies were second and third respectively.
Allen Iverson, a sophomore from Georgetown, was selected first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.
It is widely considered to be one of the deepest and most talented NBA drafts in history, with one-third of the first round picks later becoming NBA All-Stars. The draft class produced three players who won NBA MVP awards (Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash), seven other drafted players who became All-Stars (Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Ray Allen, Žydrūnas Ilgauskas, Stephon Marbury, Jermaine O'Neal, Peja Stojaković, Antoine Walker), and one undrafted All-Star (Ben Wallace), for a grand total of 11 All-Stars. Moreover, eight players from this draft class have been named to at least one All-NBA Team, the most among any draft. The draft class also produced 3 players who have been named to the NBA's all-defensive first team: Bryant, Marcus Camby, and Wallace. Camby won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2007, while Wallace earned the same award in 2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006. Eventual 5-time NBA champion Derek Fisher was also included in the draft.
On April 13, 2016, Bryant played his final NBA game against the Utah Jazz, scoring 60 points, making him the last player from this draft to play in the NBA.
Most experts rate it along with the 1984 NBA draft and 2003 NBA draft as one of the best drafts in history. Sports Illustrated named it the second-best, behind the 1984 draft, which included a draft class of Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton.