Why the NBA has so many super stars in high school


I’m not the first person to ask the obvious question, but if you’ve been paying attention to NBA history, you might be surprised to see how many of the NBA’s greatest players were born in the United States. 

The number is actually quite high.

Here are the 10 most-watched high school games of the last 20 seasons. 

(Getty Images) It’s not even close. 

It may be that some of these players are already in the NBA, but a lot of them aren’t.

And that’s a shame.

While the NBA was still a small market back in the day, the league was really just beginning to break out in the ’70s.

It’s a league that was built on superstars, with players like Shaquille O’Neal and Larry Bird getting the most playing time.

So when it comes to super stars, it’s actually hard to find a single high school game in which the most-played player was born outside of the United State. 

Here are 10 of the most watched high school contests in the last 30 years. 


Duke vs. Kentucky, 2002-03 The Dukes and the Blue Devils had a lot going on that season. 

At the time, Duke was playing for its first national title since 1967. 

But Duke’s biggest rival, Kentucky, was just starting to get serious about making the NCAA Tournament.

Duke lost to Kentucky for the first time in school history. 


Indiana vs. Maryland, 2004-05 The Hoosiers had just lost to Duke, and were going through a period of upheaval. 

In 2004, Indiana won the national title and was heading to the NCAA tournament for the very first time. 

However, in the season opener against Maryland, a bizarre moment in which a player was ejected after punching a referee in the face, Indiana lost to Maryland. 


North Carolina vs. Florida, 2005-06 The Tar Heels were a rising team coming off a disappointing season.

In 2005, the Tar Heel was looking to get back on track after a year of being out of the playoff picture. 

This game saw North Carolina head to the ACC tournament for just the second time in its history.

But this time, it was an unexpected success for the Tarheels.


Georgia vs. South Carolina, 2006-07 The Gamecocks were still struggling to find their footing, and Georgia had just won its second straight NCAA tournament bid. 

And Georgia was hoping to be a part of the second-round.

But a troubling scenario that could have affected the Gamecock’s chances. 

Instead, the SEC champions turned in a disappointing performance against South Carolina. 


Clemson vs. Alabama, 2006 Clemsons star, Nick Saban, was in his first year as the head coach at Clemson. 

Saban had just been named the SEC’s Coach of the Year after leading the Tigers to a national championship in 2007. 


UCLA vs. Washington, 2007 UW’s Brad Stevens was one of the best point guards in the country that year. 

Stevens had just played in the NCAA Final Four with Gonzaga. 

He was an All-American, and had won the Pac-10 regular season title in 2008. 


Kentucky vs. Texas, 2007-08 Kentuckians head coach, John Calipari, was one year into his first season as a head coach. 

Calipari was a three-time NCAA champion, a two-time national champion and a two time NCAA champion. 


Kansas vs. Michigan State, 2008-09 Kansas was playing in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year.

However, Michigan State was the national champs. 

Michigan was the second-seeded team in the tournament, with Kobe Bryant and Aaron Brooks joining him. 

 Kansas lost to Michigan, but it was hard to argue with the score. 


Utah vs. North Carolina, 2009-10 Utah was in its third year of existence. 

That year, the Utes were inextricably inked into the NCAA relegation process. 

So when Utah lost to North Carolina in the first round of the NCAA tournament, Calvin Johnson was the first player in school history to score in double figures. 


Cleveland vs. Minnesota, 2010-11 The Timberwolves were a new franchise. 

They were a small market that wasnt