Once upon a time, NBA stars were regular everyday kids. Well, unless you were a childhood prodigy like LeBron James, who had the media spotlight on him as a teenager. Or maybe you had an upbringing like Stephen Curry, whose father Dell played in the NBA and introduced him to the league and its players at an early age. Or you had an unfortunate upbringing like Jimmy Butler, whose mother kicked him out of her home when he was just thirteen years old. I bet she regrets that decision now!
Some NBA players are easily recognizable in their childhood pictures. James and Curry, for example, simply look like bigger versions of their younger selves. On the other hand, there are those kids who turn into NBA stars and look nothing like they did when they were younger.
Here are fifteen NBA stars who looked shockingly different as kids.
15. Kevin Love
Seeing a Seattle Supersonics jersey always brings back bittersweet memories as the team is now defunct. Kevin Love looks to have been a fan of the Seattle franchise as a kid as well, or if not a fan, a fan of the reign man, Shawn Kemp. Love here is the recipient of a Kemp jersey (as evidenced by the tag on the jersey) and seems to be ecstatic to have received number forty’s jersey. Little did Love know at the time that he’d one day be playing in the NBA just as Kemp did. After being a member of some woeful wolves teams, Love was shipped off to Cleveland. While Love initially struggled upon being drafted as he was unaccustomed to being a third option as opposed to the normal number one he’d been throughout his career, he has adjusted well and won a ring in his second season with the Cavaliers.
14. Danny Green
This tall, lanky child may be more recognizable than most on this list, but his attire is what is particularly cool about this pic. Here, we have Tony Parker’s starting backcourt mate and three point marksman, Danny Green, who is decked out in a North Carolina Tar Heels polo. Little did Green know that he’d be playing his college ball down in Chapel Hill, which makes for quite the ironic picture. Green is in his eighth NBA season, and seventh with the Spurs (he started his career with the Cavaliers where he struggled mightily). Green is averaging 7.4 PPG to go along with 2.9 RPG and 2.1 APG. He’s also shooting just over from behind the arc which has always been the strongest part of his game.
13. Klay Thomspon
When you look at this picture, you wouldn’t imagine that this kid would drop 60 points in 29 minutes. You also wouldn’t imagine that he dropped 37 points in a quarter. This kid is one half of the sharpshooting Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson. For one, Thompson no longer sports blonde hair, and he actually has waves in his hair. Here, his hair is on the curly side. He also looks to have forgotten his detachable goatee! Just kidding, Klay! Thompson, the number eleven pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by way of Washington State, is averaging 22 points a contest which is on par with his average of last season. For those who thought Thompson would see a significant decrease in his scoring output because of the addition of Kevin Durant, think again.
12. Karl-Anthony Towns
This right here is a big kid! Next to Karl in this picture is his older sister, Lachelle. The 7’0” former Kentucky Wildcat by way of Piscataway, New Jersey started growing early as evidenced by his picture as a youngster. But, it’s unlikely that even his own mother believed her son would grow to be a gargantuan seven footer. Towns now sports a beard and does not have a babyface; moreover, he looks like a full grown man (that’s what tends to happen when you get older). Not only does he look like a man, but he plays like one, too, and is going to dominate the league for years to come. In his second season in Minnesota, Towns is absolutely shining as he is averaging 21.8 PPG, 10.4 PPG and 1.5 BPG.
11. Manu Ginobili
One thing is for sure, this kid looks absolutely comfortable and confident with the rock in his hand. Another thing that is for certain is that this kid looks like Moe Horowitz from the three stooges as a result of the haircut he is sporting. Here, we have everyone’s favorite bat killer, Manu Ginobili. He sported quite the mane as a child; unfortunately, he can’t say the same in present day as he is in the midst of losing his hair. An absolute steal at the fifty-seventh pick in the 1999 NBA Draft, Ginobili is at the tail end of his career. In fact, it isn’t a bad bet to say that the thirty-nine year old Argentinian will hand it up at the end of the 2016-2017 campaign.