The NBA is full of fascinating players from different countries worldwide but some of its spectacular players are actually kids who are straight out of high school. This is not something new because since the 1960’s, the NBA already began recruiting phenomenal teen players.
* Darryl Dawkins. He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers out of Maynard Evans High School in Orlando, Florida in 1975. Dawkins played with Julius Erving and led the 76ers to the NBA Finals in 1977 but fell short against the powerhouse Portland Trailblazers. He also played for other NBA teams such as New Jersey Nets, Detroit Pistons and Utah Jazz.
* Moses Malone. He was one of the most prominent ball players in his time. The Portland Trailblazers selected him in the 1975 ABA-NBA Dispersal Draft but he ended up playing for the Houston Rockets. Malone earned MVP honors in 1979 and in 1982. He finally won the NBA title when he joined Julius Erving and Maurice Cheeks in Philadelphia in 1983, and after completing 12 seasons in the NBA, Malone was inducted in 2001 into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
* Shawn Kemp. Nicknamed as the “Reign Man”, Kemp was one of the strongest power forwards to ever play in the NBA. Although he enrolled in college, Kemp never played a single college game. He was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in the first round of the 1989 NBA Draft. Kemp was a 6-time member of the NBA All-Star and a 3-time All-NBA Second Team. He led the Supersonics against Michael Jordan and the Bulls in the 1995-1996 NBA Finals but his team got turned back after six evenly-matched games.
* Jermaine O’Neal. He was selected by the Portland Trailblazers in the 1996 NBA Draft, but because of the team’s superstar-loaded roster,O’neal was traded to Indiana Pacers in 2000. The young O’neal was named as the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2002 and was voted to the NBA All-Star Team six times, from 2002 to 2007.
* Kobe Bryant. Kobe is the most highly decorated high school draftee actively playing in the NBA, and he’s not done yet. So far, he collected four NBA titles, three from 2000 to 2002, and then another one in 2009. He was also the NBA Finals MVP in 2009 and was selected as the league’s Most Valuable Player in the previous season. He may not be Michael Jordan but he surely is a superstar next to his “Airness.”
* Tracy McGrady. T-Mac has been an NBA Scoring Champion twice, in the 2003 and 2004 seasons. He started his career in the NBA when he was drafted by the Toronto Raptors in 1997 and since then, he has been chosen as a member of the NBA All Star Team seven times. McGrady was also recognized as the NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2001.
* Rashard Lewis. This draftee from Alief Helsik High School has been selected to the NBA All Star Team twice, in the 2005 and 2009 seasons. Lewis was part of the gold medal winning USA Team in the Goodwill Games in 2001. He is a very solid offensive player who stays consistent all throughout his career.
* Darius Miles. The Los Angeles Clippers drafted Miles in 2000 and in 2001, he earned a spot in the NBA All Rookie Team. He had his best seasons while playing for the Portland Trailblazers, from 2003 to 2006, scoring twelve points per game, on average.
* Lebron James. He was the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2009, and just like Kobe Bryant, King James has been compared to Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson numerous times, because of his tenacity in the court and his ball handling majesty. He has been in the roster of the All-NBA and All-Star teams since 2005 to the present. The only award he is missing is an NBA title and that’s not going to elude him much longer the way his team has been playing.
* Amare Stoudemire. This strong forward was named Rookie of the Year in 2003. Stoudemire has also been selected as a member of the NBA All Star Team five times, in 2005 and then 2007 to 2010 seasons.
In 2006, the NBA ended the drafting of players straight out of high school by requiring all draftees to be at least one year removed from high school to be eligible to play in the NBA. Also, the NBA required all draftees to be nineteen years old to compete in the professional level.