Draft day can be one of the most life-changing days in an NBA athlete’s career. That feeling of hearing your name called by the commissioner and walking up on stage to shake his hand is a highlight of many NBA player’s lives. That’s especially true for the first name called on draft night, as being the first overall pick in the draft is both an honor and a whole lot of pressure.
Players such as LeBron James, Derrick Rose, and Magic Johnson all lived up to the hype, having very successful careers. On the other end of the spectrum, players such as Greg Oden, Kwame Brown and Anthony Bennett had very disappointing runs in the NBA, yet they can live with the memory of being the first name called up on stage on draft night.
Take a look at our gallery below of some of the more well-known first overall picks in NBA history and their reactions during the draft.
Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) – Milwaukee Bucks (1969)
Magic Johnson – Los Angeles Lakers (1979)
Hakeem Olajuwon – Houston Rockets (1984)
Patrick Ewing – New York Knicks (1985)
Shaquille O’Neal – Orlando Magic (1992)
Allen Iverson – Philadelphia 76ers (1996)
Tim Duncan – San Antonio Spurs (1997)
Kwame Brown – Washington Wizards (2001)
Yao Ming – Houston Rockets (2002)
LeBron James – Cleveland Cavaliers (2003)
Greg Oden – Portland Trail Blazers (2007)
Derrick Rose – Chicago Bulls (2008)
Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers (2011)