Playing in the McDonald's All-American game is hardly a prerequisite for NBA superstardom. John Wall's five-year prep career precluded him from partaking in the Mickey D's festivities. Russell Westbrook was a relative unknown before exploding onto the scene at UCLA, where he replaced a departed McDonald's All-American (Jordan Farmar) on the roster. Tim Duncan, Paul George and Stephen Curry didn't even play on the AAU circuit from which most high school stars are plucked.
Nor did Dirk Nowitzki and Tony Parker, who plied their respective trades overseas before winding their way into the Association.
By and large, though, the NBA's best and brightest have golden arches on their resumes. There's no more prestigious showcase than the McDonald's All-American Game, which has been a staple of high school basketball excellence since its inception in 1977.
This year's edition at the United Center will mark the 37th gathering of boys and girls prep phenoms, and the fourth straight hosted in Chicago. The setting is all too fitting, since the top two players—Duke-bound Jahlil Okafor and future Jayhawk Cliff Alexander—both hail from the Windy City.
Before we all settle in for a glimpse of the sport's future, let's have a look back at the past performances of 15 of today's biggest names.