With the NBA considering to abandon the one-and-done rule, we take a look at some of the best players who were drafted right out of high school.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently confirmed that the league is ready to put an end to the decade-long rule that prevents high school players from jumping directly to the NBA. And while it remains to be seen how they plan to move forward about it, there’s no doubt that it’s a welcome news to all the critics of the policy.
Sure enough, it will take a few years before we actually see high school prospects declaring for the NBA Draft once again, so while we wait, we take a trip down memory lane and revisit the careers of high school draftees that found success in the league.
Kobe Bryant, Lower Merion High School
Kobe needs no introduction, really. He’s the Michael Jordan of our era and his accolades speak for themselves.
Drafted out of Lower Merion in Philadelphia in 1996, the five-time NBA Champion and two-time MVP has had one hell of a career that spanned for 20 years. He retired in 2016 as an 18-time All-Star and the third-highest scorer in league history.
LeBron James, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School
James is already among the league’s greats, and the fact that he’s often compared to Michael Jordan in the G.O.A.T debate speaks volume of what he has accomplished so far.
Anointed as ‘King James’ before he was even selected by Cleveland as the top overall pick of the 2003 draft, LeBron has undoubtedly lived up to the hype and has basically dominated the league over the last decade. He made eight straight trips to the NBA Finals and won the Larry O’Brien Trophy three times.
Moses Malone, Petersburg High School
Well, one could say that Malone was one of the first players to be drafted out of high school before it was cool.
A true pioneer of the prep-to-pro movement, Malone started his career with the Utah Stars in the ABA as a 19-year-old. After the ABA and NBA merged, he turned into a truly dominant center and walking double-double machine.
‘The Chairman of the Boards’ was a rebounding monster and finished his career averaging 12.3 rebounds per game. He’s also a three-time MVP, 12-time All-Star, an NBA Champion and one of league’s 50 greatest players of all time.
Kevin Garnett, Farragut Career Academy
While Malone is a pioneer of high school players going straight to the pros, Garnett is the one who paved the way for modern-day high schoolers to jump right to the NBA.
Taken fifth by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1995, Garnett became the first high school prospect to be drafted since 1975. He went on to become one of the best power forwards in the league, earning All-Star honors 15 times and winning an NBA championship.
‘The Big Ticket’, who called it a career in 2016, ranks 17th in scoring and ninth in rebounding in the NBA all-time lists.
Tracy McGrady, Mt. Zion Christian Academy
There’s no doubt T-Mac is one of the best high school-to-NBA players to never win a championship. A dominant scorer with unbelievable range, McGrady can easily drop 20 points in any given night.
And seriously, who could ever forget “13 points in 33 seconds”?
McGrady reigned the NBA at the start of the 2000s and averaged 26 points a game from 2000 to 2008. He was named to the All-Star team seven times in that span and was the league’s scoring champion in 2003 and 2004.
Unfortunately, injuries prevented T-Mac from reaching his full potential.
Other notable prep-to-pro players: Amar’e Stoudemire (2002), Dwight Howard (2004), Shawn Kemp (1989), Tyson Chandler (2001), Jermaine O’Neal (1996), Darryl Dawkins (1975)