The 1996 NBA Draft Has A Story Full Of Legends and Tragedy

1996 NBA Draft legendary picks Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Ray Allen and Steve Nash

The 1996 NBA Draft is considered by many to be the best NBA draft in league history, producing an incredible selection of successful players. Hosted at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Philadelphia 76ers were awarded the first overall pick after compiling the league’s 2nd worst regular season record.

The draft produced 10 players who were named to at least 1 All-Star team, 7 players who were named to at least 1 All-NBA Team, and 4 players who were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

While the 1984 NBA draft and 2003 NBA draft both had impressive classes as well, they simply could not match the depth of the legendary 1996 NBA draft. Nearly half of all 1st Round selections would spend significant time as a starting player in the National Basketball Association, impacting the league for years to come.

Revisiting the greatest draft of all time reveals some of the best and worst consequential general management decisions ever made. Most notably, the Charlotte Hornets’ decision to trade #13 pick Kobe Bryant to the Los Angeles Lakers for center Vlade Divac was one of the worst trades in NBA history.

1996 NBA Draft Players


  1. Allen Iverson (PHI)
  2. Marcus Camby (TOR)
  3. Shareef Abdur-Rahim (VAN)
  4. Stephon Marbury (MIL)
  5. Ray Allen (MIN)
  6. Antoine Walker (BOS)
  7. Lorenzen Wright (LAC)
  8. Kerry Kittles (NJN)
  9. Samaki Walker (DAL)
  10. Erick Dampier (IND)
  11. Todd Fuller (GSW)
  12. Vitaly Potapenko (CLE)
  13. Kobe Bryant (CHH)


  1. Peja Stojaković (SAC)
  2. Steve Nash (PHO)
  3. Tony Delk (CHH)
  4. Jermaine O’Neal (POR)
  5. John Wallace (NYK)
  6. Walter McCarty (NYK)
  7. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (CLE)
  8. Dontae’ Jones (NYK)
  9. Roy Rogers (VAN)
  10. Efthimios Rentzias (DEN)
  11. Derek Fisher (LAL)
  12. Martin Müürsepp (UTA)
  13. Jerome Williams (DET)
  14. Brian Evans (ORL)
  15. Priest Lauderdale (ATL)
  16. Travis Knight (CHI)


  1. Othella Harrington (HOU)
  2. Mark Hendrickson (PHI)
  3. Ryan Minor (PHI)
  4. Moochie Norris (MIL))
  5. Shawn Harvey (DAL)
  6. Joseph Blair (SEA)
  7. Doron Sheffer (LAC)
  8. Jeff McInnis (DEN)
  9. Steve Hamer (BOS)
  10. Russ Millard (PHO)
  11. Marcus Mann (GSW)
  12. Jason Sasser (SAC)
  13. Randy Livingston (HOU)
  14. Ben Davis (PHO)
  15. Malik Rose (CHH)
  16. Joe Vogel (SEA)
  17. Marcus Brown (POR)
  18. Ron Riley (SEA)
  19. Jamie Feick (PHI)
  20. Amal McCaskill (ORL)
  21. Terrell Bell (HOU)
  22. Chris Robinson (VAN)
  23. Mark Pope (IND)
  24. Jeff Nordgaard (MIL)
  25. Shandon Anderson (UTA)
  26. Ronnie Henderson (CHH)
  27. Reggie Geary (CLE)
  28. Drew Barry (SEA)
  29. Darnell Robinson (DAL)

1996 NBA Draft Picks 1-10 Re-Draft based on Career

  1. Kobe Bryant
  2. Allen Iverson
  3. Ray Allen
  4. Steve Nash
  5. Jermaine O’Neal
  6. Antoine Walker
  7. Stephon Marbury
  8. Peja Stojakovic
  9. Shareef Abdur-Rahim
  10. Marcus Camby

Top Players


The 2nd best shooting guard of all time behind only Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant was one of the fiercest competitors to ever play the game of basketball. He undoubtedly should have been the 1996 NBA Draft’s 1st pick. Although he often gets the most attention for his incredible offensive exploits, Bryant was a great defensive player as well. He was an 18-time All-Star, was named to the All-NBA First Team 11 times, was named to the All-Defensive First Team 9 times, and was the 2007-2008 NBA MVP. He won 5 NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and was named Finals MVP in 2 of them.


The 1996 NBA Draft 1st pick. Pound-for-pound there has simply never been a player with the fearless drive and determination of Allen Iverson. A prolific scorer for most of his career, Iverson is best known for leading the Philadelphia 76ers on an incredible playoff run to the 2001 NBA Finals. Although the Sixers would lose to the Lakers in 5 games, Iverson had an electrifying game 1 performance, scoring 48 points and leading the Sixers to their only win of the series. He was an 11-time NBA All-Star, was named to the All-NBA First Team 3 times, and was the 2000-2001 NBA MVP.


Ray Allen was one of the best outside shooters in NBA history, starring for several different teams over his career. He hit several huge shots in clutch moments in the NBA playoffs, most notably a massive 3-point shot in game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals with the Heat against the Spurs to send the game into OT. Allen was a 10-time All-Star, was named to the All-NBA Second team once, was named to the All-NBA Third Team once, and was a 2-time NBA champion.


One of the most underrated point guards of all time, Steve Nash teamed up with Dirk Nowitzki on the Dallas Mavericks in the late 1990s and early 2000s. He then signed with the Phoenix Suns as a free agent, helping turn the struggling franchise into one of the best teams in the Western Conference for several years. Nash was an 8-time All-Star, was named to the All-NBA First Team 3 times, and won back-to-back MVP awards in the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons.


The 96 NBA Draft has its share of tragic stories regarding some of its members. Most notably, Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash on January 26, 2020. Another sad story is one about the 1996 NBA draft murdered player. The #7 pick Lorenzen Wright was murdered by his ex-wife and her friend on July 19, 2010. The Lorenzen Wright murder case was one of the highest profile unsolved murder cases in the United States during the decade of the 2010s before being resolved.

Few other classes in NBA draft history can come close to competing with the likes of the 1996 draft class. Far surpassing the 1995 NBA draft and all other drafts immediately preceding and following it, it produced plenty of stars that would dominate the league for much of the 2000s and into the 2010s. The fact that 12 teams passed on Kobe Bryant, and the 13th team that picked him, traded him, is simply incredible.