Big dreams are hard to capture in a photograph. Most people in their high school days had grand aspirations that far exceeded the reality that the future actually held for them. Plenty of hopeful doctors and astronauts settled for jobs in businesses as managers, accountants, technicians, laborers and every other occupation out there. Almost all photos taken back in high school didn’t capture the dreams inside the minds of the subjects in them. There are a few exceptions to this, one exception would be future professional athletes.
Although many, if not most of the youths that participate in high school sports dream of making it to the big time, the vast majority of these people go on to do something else with their lives. It is very rare that someone in high school was dreaming about the job they would actually end up doing as an adult. This unusual list of high school photographs include some great examples of young dreamers that hoped to play professionally. It is interesting to look at a snapshot in time, before any dreams were made into reality, a reality that we all take for granted now. Here are 15 photographs of high school students that later went on to become our sports heroes.
15 15. Magic Johnson
Magic Johnson is easily one of the most polarizing NBA players of all time, but before being one of the biggest names in basketball, he was just a kid with from Lansing, Michigan. Magic wanted to play high school ball for Sexton High School, and was very disappointed when he was told he would be going to Everett High School which was predominately white. Magic said there were many accounts of racism towards him during his high school days, and a lot of his teammates refused to pass him the ball during his first year there.
14 14. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook is one of the game of basketball's most exciting players, and is considered to be one of the league's best point guards right now. Even though it seems Russell has been putting on shows with his ecstatic dunks for years, it wasn't always like that, as he didn't even start on his varsity team in high school until his junior year. Russell attended Leuzinger High School in Lawndale, California, and didn't receive any college looks until right before his senior year of high school.
13 13. Larry Bird
Larry Bird is one of the most talented and beloved basketball players of all-time, but before his country wide recognition, "The Hick From French Lick" was, well, a hick from French Lick, Indiana. This picture definitely shows a young Larry, as he looks much skinnier here than he ever did in the NBA. Larry attended Springs Valley High School and is the schools leading scorer as he averaged over 30 points per game during his senior year at the school.
12 12. Wilt Chamberlain
Wilt Chamberlain was one of the best players in the NBA's great history, and will go down as the most dominant center to ever play the game of basketball. Chamberlain was pretty much a freak of nature ever since he was a boy, and he entered his freshman year of High School at Overbrook in Philadelphia at a whopping 6-foot-11. He obviously had a lot of success due to his height in high school, and apparently absolutely dominated the smaller competition game in and out for his Philadelphia school. He was a great track athlete as well, which most likely helped his athleticism out for his NBA days later on.
11 11. Shaquille O'Neal
It's only right to go with another one of the most dominant big men to ever play the game of basketball, and Shaquille O'Neal will also go down as one of the league's best players of all-time. Shaquille O'Neal wasn't always the powerful big man we saw him as during his NBA career, as he actually wasn't able to dunk for a while even though he was very big, but once he found out how to use his body correctly, Shaq was destined for greatness.
10 10. Charles Barkley
9 9. Carmelo Anthony
8 8. John Stockton
7 7. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant is the topic of much discussion lately, as he is now a member of the already extremely talented Golden State Warriors, and many people are anxious to see him play his first game in his new uniform. He is one of the game's best players, as he seems to score absolutely effortlessly as he shoots over players with his very long arms. Durant had traits of being disloyal in his high school days as well, as he played two years at the National Christian Academy, then one year at Oak Hill, and then played his senior year at Montrose Christian.
6 6. Chris Paul
5 5. Stephen Curry
Steph Curry may have already solidified himself as the greatest shooter in NBA history, which is astounding as he went from a skinny shooter from Davidson to pretty much the best player in the league. Curry has basketball in his blood, as his father, Dell Curry, was a respected player back in his day, but at one point, Steph was just a kid with no college offers at all. Steph grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina, and played for the Charlotte Christian School, where he had some serious success. Leading the team to three conference titles, Steph was named All-Conference and then All-State.
4 4. Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson had some of the more interesting high school years than some of the other guys on this list. Obviously one of the greatest scorers to ever grace the NBA, we may have even been able to see Allen thrive as a quarterback in the NFL, but I think he made the right choice going to the hardwood. Extremely athletic, Allen was a very mobile quarterback who was gaining a lot of recognition on the field as well as the court. Michael Vick even said that he was inspired by a young Allen, who made Vick want to be a mobile quarterback if he ever went to the NFL.
3 3. Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is easily one of the best NBA players out of high school, and the Hornets really missed out on a legend by trading him away shortly after drafting him. Kobe played for Lower Merion High School located in the suburbs of Philadelphia, and considering his dad was already a famous NBA player by then, Kobe played for the varsity team as a freshman. The team went a measly 4-20 in his freshman year though, but Kobe developed a lot after that season, as he led the Lower Merion Aces to a 77-13 record over his sophomore, junior, and senior years. Kobe was an absolute beast in high school, as he played all five positions for the team, averaging 31.1 points, 10.4 rebounds and 5.2 assists in only his junior year with the team.
2 2. LeBron James
1 1. Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player to ever live. Period. Not only were his NBA career and college careers successful, but as a young high school baller, Jordan showed some flashes of legendary talent. MJ attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina, but due to his short frame during his freshman and sophomore years, Jordan didn't make the varsity team until his junior year. Working hard on his game and tallying up multiple 40 point or more games on the junior varsity team, Jordan finally won a spot on the varsity team for his junior year.
As a senior, Jordan was named to the McDonald's All-American team, as he averaged a triple double with 29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 10.1 assists per game. The rest is history for Jordan, as he went on to dominate both the college and professional world of basketball. MJ's story just goes to show that hard work and dedication goes a long way.
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