YouTube Gold: 5 Mistakes of the 1978 Draft

This is what happens when you tell a legend

The main reason the 1978 NBA Draft is legendary is that Larry Bird was a junior at Indiana State, but technically he spent his freshman year (sort of) at Indiana. He was eligible to receive the nomination.

5 teams either didn’t understand this or didn’t want to take the risk. Red Auerbach selected Bird with the sixth overall pick and was willing to wait and risk that Bird wouldn’t sign before the 1979 draft and therefore wouldn’t be eligible for another draft, if you will.

Interestingly, if he had decided to wait until 1979, Bird would have been either the first or second pick, and there’s a chance Los Angeles would have taken him first over Magic Johnson. Maybe one of them will finish second, one with the Lakers and the other with the Chicago Bulls.

In this video, we take a look at what happened to the five players who entered the 1978 draft before Bird. Those players are Minnesota’s Michael Thompson, Klay’s father, UNC’s Phil Ford, Kentucky’s Rick Roby, Montana’s Michael Ray Richardson, and Jackson State’s Pervis Short.

Obviously, there are a million and one “what ifs” here, but consider the following. What would have happened if the Lakers had had the courage to acquire Bird in 1978? They still have the 1979 No. 1 overall pick from the trade with Utah, so this team could have Bird, Magic and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the same team.

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