Thursday, June 26, 2014

The History Of The NBA's #1

Last month I compiled a “History of the NFL’s #1” post where I listed each #1 NFL pick back to the origination on the NFL Draft in 1936. I had some fun putting it all together so I decided to put together a “History of the NBA’s #1” list dating back to the beginning of the BAA/NBA in 1947.
I am trying to be as uniform as possible but with basketball there were years where only one company, or in some cases no companies, producing basketball cards. This is where I used the player’s first available cards. In the first couple of years of the BAA/NBA there were no cards produced at all and by the time the first cards were produced nearly a decade later these early players had already retired or moved on from the sport, in these situations I was able to find pictures of the players (except Howie Shannon in 1949).
2013 Anthony Bennett, Cleveland Cavaliers
2012 Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
2011 Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
2010 John Wall, Washington Wizards
2009 Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
2008 Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
2007 Greg Oden, Portland Trail Blazers
2006 Andrea Bargnani, Toronto Raptors
2005 Andrew Bogut, Milwaukee Bucks
2004 Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
2003 LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
2002 Yao Ming, Houston Rockets
2001 Kwame Brown, Washington Wizards
2000 Kenyon Martin, New Jersey Nets
1999 Elton Brand, Chicago Bulls
1998 Michael Olowokandu, Los Angeles Clippers
1997 Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
1996 Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers
1995 Joe Smith, Golden State Warriors
1994 Glenn Robinson, Milwaukee Bucks
1993 Chris Webber, Orlando Magic
1992 Shaquille O’Neal, Orlando Magic
1991 Larry Johnson, Charlotte Hornets

1990 Derrick Coleman, New Jersey Nets
1989 Pervis Ellison, Sacramento Kings (1990-91 Hoops Basketball)
1988 Danny Manning, Los Angeles Clippers (1989-90 Hoops Basketball)
1987 David Robinson, San Antonio Spurs (1989-90 Hoops Basketball)
1986 Brad Daugherty, Cleveland Cavaliers (1987-88 Fleer Basketball)
1985 Patrick Ewing, New York Knicks
1984 Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston Rockets
1983 Ralph Samson, Houston Rockets
1982 James Worthy, Los Angeles Lakers (1983-84 Star Basketball)
1981 Mark Aguirre, Dallas Mavericks (1983-84 Star Basketball)
1980 Joe Barry Carroll, Golden State Warriors (1981-82 Topps Basketball)
1979 Earvin Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers (1980-81 Topps Basketball)

1978 Mychal Thompson, Portland Trail Blazers (1979-80 Topps Basketball)
1977 Kent Benson, Milwaukee Bucks (1979-80 Topps Basketball)
1976 John Lucas, Houston Rockets (1977-78 Topps Basketball)
1975 David Thompson, Atlanta Hawks (1976-77 Topps Basketball)
1974 Bill Walton, Portland Trail Blazers
1973 Doug Collins, Philadelphia 76ers (1974-75 Topps Basketball)
1972 LaRue Martin, Portland Trail Blazers (1973-74 Topps Basketball)
1971 Austin Carr, Cleveland Cavaliers (1972-73 Topps Basketball)
1970 Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons (1971-72 Topps Basketball)
1969 Lew Alcindor, Milwaukee Bucks
1968 Elvin Hayes, San Diego Rockets (1969-70 Topps Basketball)
1967 Jimmy Walker Detroit Pistons (1969-70 Topps Basketball)
1966 Cazzie Russell, New York Knicks (1969-70 Topps Basketball)
1965 Fred Hetzel, San Francisco Warriors (1970-71 Topps Basketball)
1964 Jim Barnes, New York Knicks (1970-71 Topps Basketball)
1963 Art Heyman, New York Knicks
1962 Bill McGill, Chicago Zephyrs
1961 Walt Bellamy, Chicago Packers (1969-70 Topps Basketball)
1960 Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals (1961 Fleer Basketball)
1959 Bob Boozer, Cincinnati Royals (1961 Fleer Basketball)
1958 Elgin Baylor, Minneapolis Lakers (1961 Fleer Basketball)
1957 Rod Hundley, Cincinnati Royals
1956 Sihugo Green, Rochester Royals (1961 Fleer Basketball)
1955 Dick Ricketts, Milwaukee Hawks (1957-58 Topps Basketball)
1954 Frank Selvy, Baltimore Bullets (1957-58 Topps Basketball)
1953 Ray Felix, Baltimore Bullets (1957-58 Topps Basketball)
1952 Mark Workman, Milwaukee Hawks
1951 Gene Melchiorre, Baltimore Bullets
1950 Charlie Share, Boston Celtics
1949 Howie Shannon, Providence Steamrollers
1948 Any Tonkovich, Providence Steamrollers
1947 Clifton McNeely, Pittsburgh Ironmen
In a strange twist of fate the #1 NBA and #1 NFL Draft Picks have a connection, neither athlete ever played a day of professional sports. Like the first  #1 pick in the NFL, Jay Berwanger, the NBA's first #1 pick Clifton McNeely decided to skip playing basketball and instead became a high school coach at Pampa High School in Texas.

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