The 1979 NBA Draft was an eventful moment in basketball history, as it saw some of the most iconic players ever embark on their basketball journey. From talented rookies who would go on to become greats of all time to veterans with major impactful careers – we will explore every facet of this legendary draft here in this article.
The 1979 NBA Draft took place on June 25, 1979, at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City and consisted of 10 rounds. A total of 202 players were selected, including such notable names as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Bill Cartwright among many others.
The 1979 NBA Draft marked a historic first when it included underclassmen who had not yet fulfilled their college eligibility, such as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. This change allowed these athletes to be selected before finishing their college careers.
He was selected with the number one overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers in 1989. Johnson attended college basketball for Michigan State, leading them to win their inaugural national title in 1979. Johnson is considered one of the greatest players ever as evidenced by his five NBA Championships, three MVP Awards, and 12 All-Star selections – an unparalleled resume!
Bird was selected sixth overall by the Boston Celtics and went on to lead Indiana State to an undefeated regular season in 1979. Considered one of the greatest players ever, Bird has three NBA championships, three MVP awards, and 12 All-Star selections to his credit.
He was chosen by the New York Knicks with the third overall pick in 1979. A two-time All-American from San Francisco College Basketball, Cartwright went on to have an exceptional NBA career that resulted in three championship wins with Chicago Bulls as well as being honored as an All-Star selection in 1980.
Other notable players from the 1979 NBA Draft include Sidney Moncrief, Vinnie Johnson, and Dennis Johnson.
After the Draft
Sidney Moncrief enjoyed an outstanding NBA career playing for both Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks. Moncrief earned five All-Star selections and two Defensive Player of the Year honors during his time in the league before retiring in 1991.
Magic Johnson had an illustrious NBA career. From 1979 to 1991 and 1996 to 1997, he represented the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five championships while being honored as NBA Finals MVP three times – as well as becoming a three-time MVP and 12-time All-Star. Although retiring due to HIV in 1991, Johnson briefly returned in 1996 after recovering.
Vinnie Johnson had an outstanding NBA career, playing for Seattle SuperSonics, Detroit Pistons, and San Antonio Spurs. Johnson became known for his clutch shooting ability when playing for Detroit Pistons; two championships were won with them as a result of this. Johnson retired from professional basketball in 1992.
Larry Bird had an outstanding career with the Boston Celtics from 1979-1992, winning three NBA championships and being honored as Finals MVP twice during that period. Additionally, Bird was a three-time NBA MVP and 12-time All-Star before retiring due to injuries.
Bill Cartwright enjoyed a distinguished NBA career, playing for the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and Seattle SuperSonics. While with Chicago, Cartwright won three championships before being honored as an All-Star selection in 1980 – retiring in 1995 after 20 years as an active NBA player.
Dennis Johnson had an accomplished NBA career, playing for Seattle SuperSonics, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, and Los Angeles Clippers during his nine-year run in the league. Johnson won three championships – two with Boston Celtics and one with Seattle SuperSonics – as well as being honored five times as an All-Star and known for his rugged defense before retiring in 1990.
Calvin Natt, Reggie Theus, and James Bailey all established successful NBA careers following their selection in the 1979 NBA Draft.
Overall, the 1979 NBA Draft was an iconic event in basketball history. It saw some of its greatest players, such as Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, enter the league. These legendary figures had successful careers with multiple championship wins and individual accolades. Furthermore, with underclassmen beginning to get selected in this Draft, it opened doors for future generations of ballers. The legacy of its significance will always remain remembered fondly.
Who was the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA Draft?
Magic Johnson was chosen first overall in the 1979 NBA Draft by Los Angeles Lakers after leading Michigan State to an NCAA title and is widely acclaimed as one of the best players available for selection.
Did any of the players from the 1979 NBA Draft win NBA championships?
Yes, several players from the 1979 NBA Draft went on to become champions in their careers. Magic Johnson of Los Angeles Lakers won five championships; Larry Bird from Boston Celtics three; Bill Cartwright won three championships with Chicago Bulls.
Why did the Lakers have the first pick in 1979?
Los Angeles Lakers became the first pick in the 1979 NBA Draft due to a trade they made with New Orleans Jazz in 1978. They exchanged three selections — their 1978 first-rounder, two second-rounders from 1978, and 1979 second-rounder — for one overall selection in the 1979 draft — Magic Johnson, who would go on to have an extraordinary career with them. This deal proved pivotal in giving Los Angeles Lakers their top-choice position.
Who won the NBA MVP in 1979-1980?
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the Los Angeles Lakers earned the NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) award for the 1979-1980 season, having an extraordinary campaign, averaging 24.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game while leading his team to its fifth championship and earning two Finals MVP awards during that season.
Who was the All-NBA team in 1979-1980?
First Team: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Los Angeles Lakers), George Gervin (San Antonio Spurs), Larry Bird (Boston Celtics), Julius Erving (Philadelphia 76ers), Dennis Johnson (Seattle SuperSonics)
Second Team: Moses Malone (Houston Rockets), Adrian Dantley (Utah Jazz), Marques Johnson (Milwaukee Bucks), Gus Williams (Seattle SuperSonics),
Nate Archibald (Boston Celtics)