By Joshua Schnitman
During halftime of the 1997 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history were recognized during a ceremony, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the NBA. The 50 Greatest Players list (first announced on October 29, 1996) had been voted on by a broadly represented panel of analysts. The illustrious group of players included (in alphabetical order): Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nate Archibald, Paul Arizin, Charles Barkley, Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Bob Cousy, Dave Cowens, Billy Cunningham, Dave DeBusschere, Clyde Drexler, Julius Erving, Patrick Ewing, Walt Frazier, George Gervin, Hal Greer, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Sam Jones, Michael Jordan, Jerry Lucas, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale, George Mikan, Earl Monroe, Hakeem Olajuwon, Shaquille O’Neal, Robert Parish, Bob Pettit, Scottie Pippen, Willis Reed, Oscar Robertson, David Robinson, Bill Russell, Dolph Schayes, Bill Sharman, John Stockton, Isiah Thomas, Nate Thurmond, Wes Unseld, Bill Walton, Jerry West, Lenny Wilkens, and James Worthy. 47 of those 50 players were present for the ceremony, receiving heartwarming standing ovations by the crowd.
As for the actual All-Star game itself, Glen Rice, representing the Charlotte Hornets, scored 26 points off the bench, bringing home the 1997 NBA All-Star Game MVP trophy — helping lead the East squad to a 132-120 victory.
This past fall fashion icon Jeff Hamilton joined us on our podcast, where he reflected on the ceremony and creating the jackets that each player wore that day.