Al Jefferson was one of the final high school players taken in the NBA Draft, being selected by the Boston Celtics with the 15th overall choice in 2004. Jefferson is still playing for the Charlotte Hornets, his fourth squad. He has so far won a championship with the Celtics, and is hoping to win another with Charlotte.
In fact, only two other players have ever played in the NBA after earning their diplomas from high school: Gary Payton and Al Jefferson. And both of them came from Pierre Saginaw High School in Michigan!
Payton went on to become one of the best point guards in NBA history, winning three championships with the Seattle SuperSonics/Thunder. He also earned several other awards throughout his career, including the Naismith Award given to the best college player every year.
Jefferson also had a very successful career in the NBA, becoming one of the top power forwards in the league. In 2009, he won the NBA Championship with the Celtics, making him one of only four people to do so as a rookie (the others are Karl Malone, Michael Jordan, and James Worthy). He also has two All-Star appearances under his belt.
In addition to his professional career, Jefferson also has two children that play basketball.
Jennings, Brandon The NBA no longer permitted players to declare for the draft after graduating from high school as of 2006. Brandon Jennings got around this regulation by moving overseas. According to league regulations, a player must be at least 19 years old and one year out of high school.
In 2008, the NBA allowed players to attend college while still playing in international competition. This rule was created so that players like James Naismith, who invented basketball, would not be denied their contribution to the game because they did not have enough time to develop as athletes. Although drafting players who haven't graduated from high school is against NBA rules, several players have been able to negotiate contracts with teams after playing in Europe or Australia.
Brandon Jennings is one such player who played in Europe before joining the Milwaukee Bucks. He has become a starter for the team since his arrival and is considered one of the future stars of the franchise.
Another player who never attended college is Metta World Peace. He has been involved in some on-court incidents throughout his career but always managed to keep his job with the New York Knicks. He currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers and is known for his aggressive style of play.
World Peace came up through the New York City public schools system before being drafted #7 by the Knicks in 2007. He only lasted two seasons with the team before being traded to the Lakers in 2009.
Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and Tracy McGrady were all successful in the league. Amir Johnson was the final player picked out of high school at the age of 18. In the second round of the 2005 NBA draft, he was chosen by the Detroit Pistons. After graduating from high school, Johnson did not play overseas or for any postgraduate institution. He immediately entered the lineup for his new team, the Portland Trail Blazers, and has not missed a game since then.
Amir Johnson is an American basketball player who plays as center for the Portland Trail Blazers. A first-round pick by Portland in 2005, he is the only player in NBA history to be drafted into the league at the age of 18 and 19 years old.
He played one season at Boston College before entering the NBA. The 6'11" Johnson has been named to the All-Rookie First Team twice, in both 2005-06 and 2006-07. He has also been selected to the All-Defensive Team each year since his debut.
After playing eight seasons with Portland, he signed with Toronto as a free agent in 2014. However, he was later traded to Philadelphia that same month in exchange for Tony Wroten. Johnson joined his third franchise, the Brooklyn Nets, in 2016 after being acquired in a trade with Toronto. He has been named to the All-Star Game this year.
Besides playing basketball, Johnson has become a prominent voice on basketball topics across the internet.
The Chicago Bulls selected Michael Jordan third overall in the 1984 NBA Draft. Since the league began staging the yearly tournament in 1947, the North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball team, representing the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has had 113 players selected into the National Basketball Association (NBA). The first pick was held by the Boston Celtics, who took Larry Bird with the number one overall selection. The Portland Trail Blazers' choice, Rodney McCray, is the only player drafted in the top five who never played a game for their new team.
Jordan joined the Bulls after one season with the University of North Carolina, where he led the Tar Heels to the 1983 NCAA Tournament. He went on to win two NCAA titles with UNC and become one of just three players (the others are John Salley and Dominique Wilkins) to be named MVP of both the College Basketball Awards and the NBA Finals in the same year (1987). With his debut for the Bulls on October 31, 1985, Michael Jordan became the first player to be named NBA Rookie of the Year twice. He finished second in voting the following year when he was also named to the All-Star Game.
After six seasons with Chicago, where he became one of the best point guards in NBA history, Jordan signed as a free agent with Toronto in 1991. After one season there, he returned home to play for the Bulls again.