“I Don’t Think it Compares to the 96 Class”: Former NBA Player Compares the 1996 Draft Class to Michael Jordan’s 1984 Class

Published 05/31/2021, 6:30 PM EDT

The 1984 draft class was one of the most intriguing draft classes in the history of the NBA. Players like Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton were some of the famous players in that draft class.


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We consider it to be the best draft class in NBA history because of the achievements of these players. Jordan was arguably the greatest player in NBA history while plying his trade in Chicago.

Similarly, Charles Barkley is one of the greatest NBA players to not win the NBA title. But in a recent podcast, former NBA player, Shareef Abdur-Rahim exclaimed how the 1996 NBA draft class was far superior to the 1984 class.


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The mesmerizing 1996 NBA Draft class

Shareef commented on how his class had produced some of the most talented players the league had ever seen.  “I don’t think it compares to the 96 class in my opinion.

“Iverson, at the very top had a great career, and there are guys like Ray Allen, and when you go further down you have guys like Peja Stojakovic, a multi-time all-star, Steve Nash two-time MVP, Kobe, like bottom of the lottery, MVP, and just an all-time great, like I said Ben Wallace like undrafted, Derek Fisher, guys like this people don’t even realise they were in the draft,” said Shareef.

ORLANDO, FL -SEPTEMBER 20: (L to R) Marcus Camby, Ray Allen, Stephon Marbury, Kobe Bryant, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Jermaine O’Neal, Kerry Kittles, Steve Nash, John Wallace, Antoine Walker, and Samaki Walker poses for a portrait during the 1996 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot on September 20, 1996 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

It is well known that the ability of these players set the league on fire. The superstars to come out of both the classes were second to none.

We consider these players to be the benchmark for the best draft classes in the NBA. Notably, most of these players were inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame. But which was the better among the two classes?


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Even though there are legendary players in the 1996 class, the players in the 1984 class were far more superior with regards to one name. Michael Jordan.

The sheer ability the kid possessed is incredible. Being regarded as the G.O.A.T, the determination to be the best is clear for everyone to see. He averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game in his career.

CHICAGO – 1991: Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls jumps to shoot a basket against the Detroit Pistons as Cliff Levingston #53 of the Bulls, Dennis Rodman #10 of the Pistons and Isiah Thomas #11 of the Pistons watch the shot at the Chicago Stadium during the 1991 NBA Playoffs in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images)

While Jordan won accolades for his performances, Hakeem Olajuwon was another important player from the 1984 draft class. He is a 2-time NBA champion with the Houston Rockets while also being an MVP in the 1994 season. Charles Barkley and John Stockton were incredibly gifted players but failed to land an NBA title.

Despite that, the influence of Jordan was always marvelous. Comparing the two draft classes is a debate that the fans will have for the rest of their lives. But it is important to know about the quality of the two draft classes.


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Players like Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash are some of the greatest players the league has seen. However, including MJ in the 1984 draft class speaks volumes about the potential those players had.

Even though the 1996 class had a lot of players who made it big, the 1984 class had super-talented players who dominated the court.

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Jacob Gijy

110 articles

Jacob Gijy is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the centre the respect he deserves.