When it comes to the NBA, the history of basketball is rich with legendary players, and two names that stand out prominently are Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. These two icons of the game were drafted in different years but left an indelible mark on the sport.
Larry Bird’s Draft Year
Larry Bird, a basketball legend in his own right, was drafted in the year 1978. His entry into the NBA marked the beginning of an extraordinary career with the Boston Celtics. Bird was a sixth overall pick and quickly became a pivotal player for his team.
Bird’s presence in the league brought a wave of excitement, but it’s fascinating to note that he did not play immediately after being drafted. The reason for this is tied to the 1979 NBA Draft.
Magic Johnson’s Draft Year
Magic Johnson, a name synonymous with Showtime and the Los Angeles Lakers, was chosen in the 1979 NBA Draft. What made this draft year significant was that Magic Johnson, fresh from an NCAA championship at Michigan State University, became the first underclassman to be drafted first overall.
But why didn’t the Los Angeles Lakers select Larry Bird, given that they had the first pick in the 1979 NBA draft? The answer lies in the fact that Larry Bird had already joined the Boston Celtics, a significant turn of events that would shape the course of NBA history.
The Lakers’ First Pick in 1979
The Los Angeles Lakers secured the first pick in the 1979 NBA draft through a strategic move. They had acquired a first-round pick when the New Orleans Jazz signed Gail Goodrich as a free agent before the 1976-77 season. This pick eventually became the No. 1 overall selection, leading to the selection of Magic Johnson.
More Draft Insights
As we delve into the history of the NBA draft, it’s worth noting that Wilt Chamberlain, another iconic player, was chosen by the Philadelphia Warriors with the 3rd overall pick in the 1959 NBA draft.
And while Larry Bird was selected 6th overall by the Boston Celtics, it’s interesting to see who was picked ahead of him. Teams ahead of the Celtics chose Mychal Thompson, Phil Ford, Rick Robey, Micheal Ray Richardson, and Purvis Short in that order.
Beyond Draft Years
The NBA has evolved over the years, and one significant change that altered the game was the introduction of the three-point line. This change, which we now take for granted, was not adopted until 1979 – the same year Larry Bird and Magic Johnson entered the league.
In conclusion, the years 1978 and 1979 marked the draft years of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, respectively. These two players would go on to shape the NBA in their unique ways, leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire new generations of basketball enthusiasts.
The Impact of the 1979 NBA Draft on NBA History
Why did Larry Bird get drafted in 1978?
To understand why Larry Bird was drafted in 1978, we have to look at a clever move orchestrated by the legendary Red Auerbach. As Powell writes, “(Auerbach) took advantage of a loophole and drafted Bird in 1978, a year before his graduation. According to the rules then, Bird was draft eligible because he’d already spent four years in college.” This strategic drafting decision was made possible because Bird had completed four years of college, making him eligible for the NBA draft a year before his graduation, a crafty move that set the stage for Bird’s remarkable NBA career.
Was Larry Bird a number 1 pick?
Larry Bird, a basketball icon, was not a number 1 pick. Instead, he was selected 6th overall by the Boston Celtics. While not the first pick, Bird’s impact on the game and his legacy in the NBA are unquestionably of number-one caliber.
Did Larry Bird and Magic Johnson get drafted the same year?
Did Larry Bird and Magic Johnson get drafted the same year? No, they were drafted in different years. Larry Bird was selected as the 6th overall pick in the 1978 draft. However, he delayed signing with the Celtics, opting to complete his college season at Indiana State, where he led his team to the NCAA Championship Game (losing to Johnson’s Michigan State team). On the other hand, Magic Johnson was the first overall pick in the 1979 draft, marking the start of two legendary careers that forever shaped the NBA.
When was Magic vs Bird Rookie of the Year?
When was Magic vs Bird Rookie of the Year? Larry Bird earned the title of "Rookie of the Year" in 1980, a year in which Magic Johnson’s Lakers secured the NBA Championship, with Johnson himself receiving the NBA Finals MVP award. The following years continued their rivalry: the Celtics claimed the championship in 1981, and the Lakers regained it in 1982. This era marked the beginning of one of the most iconic rivalries in NBA history.
Why wasn t Larry Bird in the 1979 draft?
Why wasn’t Larry Bird in the 1979 draft? Larry Bird was eligible to join the 1979 draft class as his "junior eligible" draft status from being selected by the Boston Celtics in 1978 would have expired at the start of the 1979 draft. However, to prevent this, Bird and the Celtics reached an agreement on a five-year contract on June 8, ensuring that he would not enter the 1979 draft.
Who were the 5 players drafted ahead of Larry Bird?
In the 1978 NBA Draft, five players were selected before Larry Bird. They were:
- Mychal Thompson
- Phil Ford (Drafted From: North Carolina)
- Rick Robey (Drafted From: Kentucky)
- Michael Ray Richardson (Drafted From: Montana)
- Purvis Short (Drafted From: Jackson State)
Larry Bird, despite not being the first pick, went on to become one of the most iconic players in NBA history, leaving an indelible mark on the game.