NBA, Sports

Dog Days Of NBA Summer: 1984 NBA All-Star Legends Game

1984 was a defining year for the NBA. That spring featured the first live broadcast of an NBA Finals series (a 7-game classic between the Lakers and Celtics), arguably the greatest draft in NBA history (Hall of Famers in Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton, along with Alvin Robertson, Sam Perkins, Kevin Willis and Otis Thorpe), and some guy named David Stern took over as commissioner from Larry O’Brien.

In addition, the NBA, looking to spice up All-Star Weekend, added two events to Saturday night’s festivities. First, the dunk contest — the first professional contest since the lone ABA affair in 1976 — and second, the All-Star Legends Game, which was exactly what it sounds like. Here are the rosters for the 1984 game:

East (Coach — Red Auerbach):

  • Zelmo Beaty
  • D. DeBusschere
  • John Havlicek
  • Tom Heinsohn
  • Sam Jones
  • Pete Maravich
  • Dick McGuire
  • Oscar Robertson
  • Bill Sharman
  • Nate Thurmond
  • Wes Unseld

West (Coach — Alex Hannum):

  • Rick Barry
  • Dave Bing
  • Hal Greer
  • Connie Hawkins
  • Lou Hudson
  • John Kerr
  • Earl Monroe
  • Bob Pettit
  • Dolph Schayes
  • Jerry West

Want to know why the showcase isn’t still around today? Well, for starters, do you have any idea what year Dolph Schayes retired? (I’ll save you the time: 1964). Do you know when Pete Maravich retired? 1980. Such age differences, along with varying levels of health (at the beginning of Part 2, watch Connie Hawkins score over a portly Wes Unseld, then limp off the court after minimal contact), forced the Legends game into early retirement after the 1993 edition.

The replacement? The Rising Stars Challenge, which is much more palatable, mainly because it doesn’t feature 55-year-old geezers with bad knees plodding up and down the court, clanging wide open jumpers off the front of the rim — if they even get that far.

Thankfully, YouTuber 1avardac was kind enough to upload inaugural game, almost in its entirety. It’s kind of a fun watch, as pure novelty, of course. Added bonus: Dick Vitale on color commentary!