The ’77 NBA Draft might’ve been the craziest ever. The Jazz selected Lusia Harris — the second woman ever drafted by an NBA team. Two picks later, the Kansas City Kings selected the ’76 Olympic Gold medalist, Bruce Jenner., now known as Caitlin Jenner. The Lakers tried to draft Scooby-Doo and a wooden chair, and the Celtics used their pick on a water boy.
Back then, teams burning their late picks on outright goofs wasn’t that uncommon. Up until ’89, when NBA Draft was cut to only two rounds, we’ve witnessed a fair share of crazy names being called. The draft ran without a predetermined pool of players or a pick limit, which left organizations with almost 200 individual selections. Demand exceeded supply, and there was not enough basketball talent to feed the NBA at that rate. It led to some creative selections made by the organizations, but none to the extent of what the Hawks did in ’74. Because no matter how frivolous the other unorthodox picks were, at least they were used on adults.
On May 27, 1974, a day before the ’74 NBA Draft, Hawks’ executive Pat Williams celebrated the birth of his son James. After going through nine rounds of picking basketball talent, Williams decided to honor his newborn son with a tenth-round selection, making him the youngest individual to join the NBA brotherhood.
The pick had the whole league confused since there was an actual college player named James “The Fly” Williams on the board. But this wasn’t a streetball legend Pat was talking about, This was “19 1⁄2 inches long James Littlejohn Williams from Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta,” who had just become a member of the NBA organization. Well, at least for a brief moment.
The pick was ruled ineligible, leaving little James unemployed minutes into his NBA career. But him being the youngest part-time member of the NBA is set in stone. It sure makes Littlejohn worthy of a tenth round selection.