Why Allen Iverson Ranks His 1996 NBA Draft Class With Kobe Bryant Above Michael Jordan’s Iconic 1984 Class

Published 08/24/2021, 6:30 AM EDT


Amongst numerous NBA drafts every year- 1984, 1996, and 2003- we consider those classes the legendary ones. But when it comes to comparing these three draft classes, the former Philadelphia star Allen Iverson claims that Kobe Bryant and his batch of 1996 rules the rest.

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The 1984 draft class that included Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, John Stockton, and Charles Barkley was the first legendary set of superstars to be drafted in the same year. The next was the 1996 NBA draft wherein the likes of Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, and Steve Nash graced the league and further in 2003 were LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Bosh.

While opinions differ for different sets of eras, Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant’s draft years have been neck-to-neck. However, Allen Iverson undoubtedly believes that his 1996 batch tops the list.

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1996 draft first pick, Allen Iverson makes his choice clear

In an episode of Club Shay Shay season 2, the host Shannon Sharpe listed out the leading stars from each batch. At the same time, he asked Iverson to choose the best out of the three legendary draft classes.

While listing out the 1996 draft class, Shannon mentioned Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Stephon Marbury, Jermaine O’Neal, and Derek Fisher. To this, the 11-time All-star replied, “When you named the (1996) dogs, look how many players you named.” 

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Iverson clearly stated that the 1996 batch of Kobe Bryant and himself were way ahead of Michael Jordan or LeBron James’ classes. While 1984 and 2003 drafts were inclusive of several superstars, 1996 did exceptionally well with a whole lineup of icons.

The 1996 NBA draft class accomplishments

Allen Iverson was the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft. His fellow draftee, Kobe Bryant, went to the Charlotte Hornets as the 13th pick and immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. Iverson won the season MVP award in 2001 and an All-star game MVP twice in his career.

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The 1996 batch of the NBA league produced 64 All-star awards, 19 championships, and 4 MVP awards. Allen Iverson, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, and Steve Nash are the four Hall of Famers from this superior class of players.

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Pavni Ahuja

508 articles

Pavni Ahuja is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Housing a keen interest in sports journalism, she is pursuing an undergraduate Journalism degree from Christ University. Pavni is an ardent fan of the NBA, with prior district-level playing experience in basketball.

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