10 NBA Stars Who Got Their Start In McDonald’s All American Game

You’ve probably already heard of the McDonald’s All American Game, the annual meeting of the best all-star high school basketball players in the country. But, you probably didn’t know that the competition has produced a pretty impressive line-up of alumni since it’s start in 1977. Want to catch the next big stars in action? Tickets to the 2012 McDonald’s All American Games, on March 28th, are still available at Ticketmaster.com. Proceeds benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.

1. Isiah Thomas – 1979

Before winning two championships with the Detroit Pistons and before his illustrious career as the coach of the men’s basketball team at Florida International University, Isiah Thomas played in the 1979 McDonald’s All American Game, scoring 19 points.

2. Michael Jordan – 1981

With 5 MVP titles, 6 championship rings, and 14 All-Star games under his belt, His Airness needs no introduction. But, like all great players, Michael Jordan had to get his start somewhere. In this case, it was the 1981 McDonald’s All American Game, where Jordan scored a whopping 30 points.

3. Alonzo Mourning – 1988

Having played most of his 15 year career in Miami, you’re probably most familiar with Alonzo Mourning in a Heat Jersey. But before he got his start playing in the NBA, Mourning played in the 1988 McDonald’s All American Game, where he scored 16 points.

4. Shaquille O’Neal – 1989

It’s hard to imagine that 7’ 1”, 325 lb Shaq was ever a kid, but he was, and needless to say, he was great at basketball then too. Shaq played in the 1989 McDonald’s All American Game, where he brought home 18 points, 16 rebounds, and 6 blocks.

5. Kevin Garnett – 1995

Not only did Kevin Garnett play in the 1995 McDonald’s All American Game, where he scored 18 points and made 11 rebounds, he also earned himself the National Player of the Year award, as well. Oh, and he also went on to win an NBA Championship eventually as well.

6. Kobe Bryant – 1996

Kobe Bryant is a man with many accolades to his name, even early on in his career. But before winning 5 Championship rings, playing in 14 All-Star games, and being declared MVP, Bryant scored 13 points during the 1993 McDonald’s All American Game.

7. Carmelo Anthony – 2002

Carmelo Anthony’s big move to the New York Knicks in 2011 was the talk of the NBA - but 9 years earlier, he was making waves in the McDonald’s All American Game - scoring an impressive 19 points.

8. LeBron James - 2003

LeBron James is, arguably, the biggest star in the NBA right now, and may well be one of the greatest players of all time. So it’s no surprise that during the 2003 McDonald’s All American Game, he managed to score 27 points, grab 7 rebounds, and nab 6 steals.

9. Candace Parker – 2004

Before Candace Parker started dunking for the Los Angeles Sparks (no, really, she is the second woman in WNBA history to pull off a dunk), she was tearing up the courts at the 2004 McDonald’s All American Game, where she scored 19 points, and snagged 10 rebounds.

10. Maya Moore – 2007

A newcomer to the big leagues, Maya Moore just signed with the Minnesota Lynx last year, but has a ton of awards and accolades from her high school and college careers. Aside from winning the Naismith Prep Player of the Year Award and John Wooden Award, Moore was the star of the 2007 McDonald’s All American Game, where she scored 18 points.

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