Back in ’96, SLAM Magazine was able to get rookies Ray Allen, Kobe Bryant, Stephon Marbury, Marcus Camby, Steve Nash, Antoine Walker, Jermaine O’Neal, Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kerry Kittles and Antoine Walker to pose for one of the most popular SLAM covers ever!
Only one problem, Allen Iverson was missing!
Where the heck was he?
“He probably was late man,” joked Antoine Walker on the Heavy Live With Scoop B Show.
“So what a lot of people don’t understand is that when you go to the Draft, it’s a whole week process. They take you out there a week before; you’re out there doing the photo shoot, the media…you have so many things going on and I think he just was late man, and they just got tired of waiting and it was one of those little things that he was late for; because you got all the trading card companies out there, you’re taking all these photos on the side of just being excited about being at the Draft. So all of those things played a part. So I think that’s where I think he was at.”
The 1996 NBA Draft class was special. It also included Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Peja Stojakovic, Malik Rose, Samaki Walker, Tony Delk, John Wallace and Walter McCarty.
“I’m very proud of it,” Antoine Walker tells Heavy Live With Scoop B.
“From top to bottom and we can argue if you want and people argue with me all the time – from top to bottom and even going into the second round, I think we had THE MOST impactful players in any Draft. EVER. You know, and that’s not me being biased. It’s just me looking at that Draft’s resume.”
Walker was Boston’s sixth overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft out of the University of Kentucky. A three-time NBA All-Star, he was a member of the NBA’s All-Rookie team in 1997.
Walker’s talent really shined in the eyes of many when the Celtics paired him with Paul Pierce.
“It’s an exciting and special draft class,” Walker said.
“I mean when you look at some of the individual accomplishments of just a few players of one: Kobe Bryant, two: Steve Nash; Allen Iverson, Ray Allen…Stephon Marbury is great, Kerry Kittles, Lorenzen Wright, Shareef Abdur-Rahim was a monster when he played, Marcus Camby was not shabby at all. Jermaine O’Neal was a late first round pick… so, we had so much talent in that draft. And what’s special about that ’96 Draft class, all the guys were impactful on their teams in their own way. When you think about it, at one point or another, you actually had about fifteen guys that were the franchise players. Most teams don’t get it right like that when they draft and guys turning into the franchise player so you got to put that into perspective too.”