DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) — The 1984 NBA Draft is widely considered the best draft ever, featuring names like Hakeem Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley and John Stockton.
Also drafted by the Boston Celtics in the third round: University of Virginia guard Rick Carlisle.
Carlisle, who describes himself as having “marginal NBA ability” coming out of college, played alongside Larry Bird and appeared in three NBA Finals, winning one in 1986.
The 6-foot-5 guard wasn’t sure he would find a place in Boston, but a series of events allowed him to catch on with one of the great teams in NBA history.
“I was very, very fortunate,” said Carlisle on Shan & RJ on 105.3 The Fan on Tuesday. “The basketball gods aligned me at the right place at the right time.”
The Mavs coach recalled a 1986 playoff series with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, in which Jordan set the still-unbroken record for points in a playoff game with 63 in Game 2.
The Celtics ultimately won the series, but Carlisle believes the series was critical in Jordan’s development as a star.
“I thought that series was the thing that spring-boarded him to — he was going to be a superstar — but it sent him into mega stardom,” said Carlisle.
But Carlisle knew long before that Jordan was special. In college, Carlisle was often tasked with guarding Jordan to begin games.
“He was an unbelievable athlete. He played with a tenacity and explosiveness that I had never seen before. You could just tell that he was oozing with this potential explosive greatness. No one was really sure to what extent.”
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