With the 36th annual McDonald's All-American game coming up on Wednesday, we here at B/R thought we'd take a look back at some of the basketball luminaries who once appeared in our nation's most prestigious high school showcase game.
And, you know, maybe have a chuckle or two at their expense.
Considering we've all probably paid a 500 percent markup at some point in our lives for sneakers bearing their name, I doubt they'll take it too hard.
Shaquille O'Neal and Bobby Hurley, 1989
Goodness, so much to unpack here. First there's Bobby Hurley looking extra Bobby Hurleyish, with his chin sunken just so and that famous "all I've ever really thought about is basketball" look written across his face. Then we've got John Wooden, who should probably be presented without comment.
And what about Shaquille Rashaun O'Neal? The Big Diesel. Wilt Chamberneezy. Shaq Fu. I'm not sure if "dazed" quite captures it. The look is more "total discomfort," maybe with a side of "rigor mortis."
And can't you just imagine Shaq saying "Bobby Hurley" in that Shaq voice? You know the one where he says the first and last name in rapid succession and kind of swallows the vowels? Please tell me you can because it's oh-so-audible in my head.
Grant Hill, 1990
Every picture of Grant Hill in a high-top fade reminds me of how great could Grant Hill could have been. Man, Grant Hill could have been awesome.
Antoine Walker, 1994
Let's leave aside the obvious Antoine Walker weight jokes and focus instead on the referee's forearm. Extrapolating from what's shown we can safely assume that this man doesn't have a hairless spot on his body, right? We're talking full forest—front, back and all the unmentionables. How do you think his wife (Morticia Adams?) navigates the mess? Is she into that? Does she ask him to shave?
These are the things I think about.
Stephon Marbury, 1995
The position of Stephon Marbury's thumb in this picture is an almost perfect appraisal of his basketball career. You couldn't say Marbury was below average or even average. He was too good for too long. Then again, a full "thumbs-up" would ignore all the wasted potential and self-immolating behavior.
But if you leave right there, somewhere just below 45 degrees, you end up pretty damn close to the Marbury basketball experience. Assuming of course that the thumb was covered in Vaseline.
Antawn Jamison, 1995
Visual evidence confirms that Antawn Jamison is aging in reverse.
Kobe Bryant, 1996
"Attention patrons, the high school senior guarding Kobe Bryant no longer requires a bathroom break."
Mike Bibby, 1996
I hate it when the Hamburglar steals all the medium-sized t-shirts.
Tayshaun Prince, 1998
Remember that awkward, gangly teenage phase when your body looked the rough draft of a cubist painting? Remember how your mom said you'd eventually grow out of it? Remember how time proved her right and later you both looked back at your angst with mutual disbelief?
In summary, Tayshaun Prince's mom must feel terrible.
Mike Dunleavy Jr., 1999
Mike Dunleavy Jr. doesn't wanna wait for our lives to be over.
Zach Randolph, 2000
Well, that settles it: Zach Randolph looked, looks and will always look like a gigantic baby.
Chris Paul, 2003
The greatest point guard in the world. Or maybe his sassy, Lil'-Penny-style lookalike? Unclear.
Andrew Bynum, 2005
Kevin Love and Derrick Rose, 2007
Kevin Love ignores Derrick Rose's request for the ball at the 2007 McDonald's All-American Game. Almost exactly a year later, Rose ends Love's college career in the 2008 Final Four. And the spinnin' wheel goes 'round and 'round.
Blake Griffin, 2007
Records show that high school Blake Griffin won the 2007 POWERade Jam Fest slam dunk contest over a bunch of other high school kids who weren't Blake Griffin. Also, the sky is blue and farts are smelly.