The 1984 draft class was one of the most celebrated in NBA lore, producing seven All-Stars (Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Alvin Robertson, John Stockton, Otis Thorpe and Kevin Willis) and four Hall of Famers (Barkley, Jordan, Olajuwon and Stockton).
For Jordan, Stockton and Barkley in particular, their debut on the NBA stage all happened on the same day: Oct. 26, 1984. Flashes of their future careers — which would include NBA MVPs, all-time records and other accolades — were seen in the first game for each player. Here’s a quick look back at how each player fared in their NBA debut …
The No. 3 overall pick of the 1984 draft by the Chicago Bulls, Jordan got his first taste of NBA game play against the Washington Bullets. Chicago defeated Washington, 109-93, with Jordan scoring 16 points (on 5-for-16 shooting). He also added six rebounds, seven assists, two steals and four blocks in 40 minutes as a starter.
Jordan’s best game as a rookie came on Feb. 2, 1985, when he went for 49 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and four steals in a win against the Detroit Pistons. Overall, Jordan scored 17 or more points in 76 of 82 games that season and started every game.
He won Rookie of the Year, finished 3rd in scoring (28.2 ppg) and was All-NBA Second Team.
The Philadelphia 76ers took Charles Barkley with the No. 5 pick in the 1984 draft and were not disappointed with the results. In his NBA debut — a 111-101 win against the Cleveland Cavaliers — Barkley was plenty solid. He had 11 points, six rebounds, three assists, a steal and a block in 27 minutes off the bench.
Barkley’s best game as rookie came on Feb. 22, 1985 against the Detroit Pistons. That night, he logged 29 points, 18 rebounds and three steals in a Sixers win. As a rookie, Barkley grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 33 games, started 60 games overall and was named to the All-Rookie Team.
A diminutive point guard from Gonzaga University, Stockton had to wait a while for his starting bid in Utah. However, the No. 16 pick in the 1984 Draft showed a brief taste of what would make him a future NBA standout in his debut game.
As a backup on the Jazz, Stockton played 17 minutes in a 102-94 loss to the Seattle SuperSonics. He finished with four points, two rebounds and five assists in that game. Overall, Stockton’s best game as rookie came on Dec. 1, when he logged 13 points, 12 assists and three steals in a loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Stockton played 17 minutes or less in 45 of his 82 games as a rookie and started five games. But, by the 1987-88 season, Stockton became the Jazz’s full-time starter and started his run of All-Star-level play.