History(ies) of the Draft | The first live broadcast on American television

An essential moment of an NBA season, the Draft has been broadcast live on ESPN for a few years now. Over the last decade, it has attracted an average of around three million viewers.

Except that, since 1980, if it was obviously filmed and then broadcast, it did not enjoy a “prime time” programming. This was therefore the case for the first time on June 27, 1989, on the airwaves of the TBS channel, holder of the rights at the time.

And, unfortunately for her, the NBA did not have a memorable first, as with Patrick Ewing four years earlier (first choice in 1985), or Shaquille O’Neal three years later (1992), or even Yao Ming (2002) and its impact in China.

Pervis Ellison was chosen first. The Kings got their hands on this pivot, certainly a former champion and best player in the NCAA tournament (1986), who would become the best progression of the year in 1992, but who was above all weighed down by injuries. His career will be very, very discreet (9.5 points and 6.7 rebounds on average, in 474 games) and Sacramento will even trade him following just one season!

The second choice, that of the Clippers, will not be much sexier with Danny Ferry, who will play in Italy… Fortunately, Sean Elliot (Spurs) and Glen Rice (Heat) come quickly behind. Finally, in addition to the last two mentioned, the best players of this weak 1989 vintage will be drafted much lower: Nick Anderson (11th), Mookie Blaylock (12th), Tim Hardaway (14th), Dana Barros (16th), Shawn Kemp (17th ), BJ Armstrong (18th), or even Vlade Divac (26th), Clifford Robinson (36th) and Dino Radja (40th).

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