The annals of NBA history are littered with would-be great players whose careers didn't go according to plan.
A lot has to fall in a young man's favor in order to even make it to the NBA, let alone thrive.
It takes thousands of hours of practice and the proper mentorship to be a star, but it also takes a hefty dose of God-given ability. When circumstances sidetrack that skill, though, it casts an inauspicious shadow over your entire competitive legacy.
We're not talking about a guy like Grant Hill, who displayed his stardom before injuries undercut him. Nor are we talking about Darko Milicic, a guy who was probably never going to be as good as misguided scouts made him out to be.
This list isn't just for the future stars who never got the chance to shine—who squandered their talent—but also for the ones who had it untimely ripped away from them.
Out of respect for the men who lost more than a game, we will look at them in alphabetical order rather than determine a single greatest. Though there are some historical punch lines here, the most tragic examples deserve that bit of dignity as we look back on what might have been.