The Finest Batch of Rookies in NBA History: 1996-97 Season

allen ivereson rookie card

Allen Iverson

First on the list, of course, the top pick of that era. Made famous not only by his cool dreadlocks but also by his “killer crossover” moves. Who would have not seen his ever popular ankle-breaker against the greatest basketball player of all time Michael Jordan. His quickness inside the court is comparable to none. Although his career in the NBA did not end well due to personal issues, he’s still considered among the best point guards that ever played in NBA history.
 
 

kobe bryant rookie card

Kobe Bryant

This next baller needs no introduction at all. With 5 NBA Championship rings in his fingers, it’s safe to say he’s on his way to the prestige Hall of Fame throne. He also has a Slam Dunk Championship trophy, NBA Most Valuable Player award, and two times NBA Finals MVP awards to add to his credentials. “The Black Mamba” is often compared to “Michael Jordan” because of his body motions, tongue-protruding antics and shooting gestures. Not to mention that KB is just one championship ring shy to MJ. Should he win another, will that be enough to put him in the zenith that “His Airness” had attain?
 
 

ray allen rookie card

Ray Allen

Ray Allen may not have a dominant year in the Milwaukee Bucks franchise but slowly but surely he was carving his marks until he was traded and became a part of the most prominent “3-headed dragons” of the Boston Celtics in 2007. Teaming up with “The Big Ticket” Kevin Garnett and “The Truth” Paul Pierce, they successfully clinched one Larry O’Brien championship trophy in the 2007-2008 NBA season. Another trophy was added to Ray’s collection in year 2013 and by that time he’s wearing a Miami Heat Jersey together with Lebron “King” James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh. Fantastic four as others call them, they dominated the basketball court like no other teams did.
 
 

steve nash rookie card

Steve Nash

Like Allen Iverson, Steve Nash haven’t bagged a championship trophy (not just yet). But with two Most Valuable Player awards, Steve had already equalized himself among the elites. The first MVP award came during the 2004-2005 NBA season where he led the Phoenix Suns to the Western Conference Finals. He solidified his status by winning yet another MVP award the proceeding 2005-2006 NBA season. To win back-to-back awards is as ambitious as winning the prestige championship trophy. Only a few players in NBA history have won back-to-back accolades the same way Steve Nash did.
 
 

ben wallace rookie card

Ben Wallace

Not many knows that Ben Wallace belongs to the Rookie Class of 1996-1997. Technically, that was his rookie year for the reason that’s the first time he played in the professional league. And he is among those players that successfully grabbed an NBA ring before they retired. His dominance in the court was displayed not by pouring a lot of points for his team but rather by exhibiting a steady defense in the Center position. As a proof for his defensive brilliance, he was named NBA Defensive Player of the year 4 times (2002, 2003, 2005, and 2006). His most exceptional year is sealed in 2003-2004 NBA Season where he’s been a part of the eventual champion team, Detroit Pistons.
 
 

stephon marbury rookie card

Stephon Marbury

During Stephon’s rookie year, his name always resurfaces together with the top point guards of the NBA. This is because he always has either a highlight reel or a game-winning shot for his Minnesota Timberwolves team. Forming alliance with Kevin Garnett during that year, they were considered as one of the best Dynamic Duos in NBA history. That moniker is the same as that of the Malone-Stockton tandem which is the best if not one of the greatest pairings in the history. Although Stephon is not active in the NBA league anymore, he still made a mark outside the organization. He’s still playing professionally for the Beijing Ducks in the Chinese Basketball Association where he led his team into two championship rings.
 
 

derek fisher rookie card

Derek Fisher

Who would have thought that Derek Fisher belonged to the rookie class of ’96-’97? Well he surely is one of those rookie elites that made a remarkable career in the basketball league. With his ball handling skills, he became one of the most valued point guards of the Los Angeles Lakers where he won 5 NBA titles together with Kobe Bryant. Obtaining 5 championship trophies is a class that only few players have experienced. Derek may not have an all-star status the same way KB and Shaq has, yet he still one of the key ingredients that helped his team win titles because of his clutch shooting artistry.
 
 

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