The Rookie Game is one of the most-loved events of All-Star weekend, a chance for fans to see the league's youngest players entertain fans by throwing and finishing alley-oops against an entirely disinterested defense. But did you know that it's a relatively recent phenomenon? Up until the 1994 All-Star events, the league held a Legends Game featuring stars of yore, but it had to end that competition after David Thompson blew out his knee in Orlando in 1992.
Above, you can witness the introductions for the 1994 Rookie Game in Minneapolis. All your favorites are there: Chris Webber, Penny Hardaway, Jamal Mashburn, Isaiah Rider, and even Shawn Bradley. But while most nostalgia-fueled events look a little ridiculous upon sober reflection, this Rookie Game features a bunch of players who went on to have solid, if not excellent careers. In truth, only the comparison between Lindsey Hunter(notes) and Isiah Thomas looks ridiculous today. Even Rider's introduction doesn't feel out of place -- he really was one of the league's most exciting players back then.
The Rookie Game eventually had to become the Rookie/Sophomore Game to bring more good players into the mix, but this roster shows that the idea was a pretty great one at its inception. Frankly, there are fewer ridiculous inclusions here than in that year's All-Star game. Mookie Blaylock?
- Penny Hardaway