The NBA wasn’t always the excellent league it is right now. They came a long way to be the respectable organization they are and their anecdotes save a lot of weird moments that shaped the current league we see nowadays.
Something that not everybody knows is that the league used to have more draft picks than necessary. Back in 1977, the league realized it had way too many draft rounds when teams made some shocking picks. That was the first draft after the Spurs, Nets, Pacers, and Nuggets joined the NBA after the merger with the ABA.
That draft had some of the most curious picks in history. In what Basketball Network called the ‘craziest draft in NBA history’, the New Orleans Jazz selected Lusia Harris with the 137th pick. This meant the first time a woman was officially selected to the NBA; in 1969, the San Francisco Warriors drafted Denise Long but the league voided the pick.
Harris, though, didn’t attend the team’s workout since he was pregnant at the time. Still, until this day, she remains the first officially selected woman in NBA history.
Moreover, just two picks after Harris, the Kansas City Kings got more creative and selected Bruce Jenner, now known as Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner had just won the gold medal for decathlon in the Montreal 1976 Olympics and the Kings even gave him a jersey with the score he got in the competition, 8618.
Now, to make things worse, the Los Angeles Lakers reached the next level when they tried to pick Scooby-Doo and a wooden chair. It remains unclear why, but the league opposed those selections. The Boston Celtics even got a water boy that year. That’s how crazy it was.
Seven rounds are something that you see in the NFL, where teams have more roster spots to fill. That year, the rounds were 8 but before that, the league had 10, something unthinkable. It wasn’t until 1989 when they finally came into senses and cut everything into two rounds, which is the format we have right now.
Before that, most of the players selected only got to try out and never played an NBA game in their life. It was so crazy that even Scooby-Doo could make it to the league.