There is no doubt that college basketball is a major benefactor of players to the NBA. However, there are high school athletes that rise up and shine in such a young age that NBA scouts simply can’t pass up.
The league has been welcoming to young guns who are more than ready to play at a higher level. Find out who are the youngest players in NBA history, plus some of the highlights in their career.
Stan Brown (18 years, 139 days)
Before the league became known as the NBA we know and love today, draft rules associate a player’s eligibility in the league with four years of college basketball. However, the Philadelphia Warriors were able to sign Stan Brown, an undrafted player straight out of high school, in the BAA and NBA for 34 games.
Brown was originally a recruit of the Philadelphia Sphas when he was in his junior year of high school. He made his professional debut with the Sphas as a senior. At that time, he was the youngest player in the league. He held this record for 48 years.
At 6-foot-3-inches (1.91 m), Brown started his career with the Warriors as a point guard in the 1947-48 season. His career stats averaged at 1.1 RPG, 0.6 APG, and 3.1 PPG.
Andrew Bynum (18 years, 6 days)
No one would have guessed that the 7-foot (2.13 m) centre was a young man who went straight from high school to the big league. The record for the youngest player in NBA history goes to Andrew Bynum who was 18 years and 6 days old at the time.
Bynum was drafted in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers with whom he played the majority of his career. The early stages of his professional career was a rapid boost from a bench player to a starter in the 2007-08 season. However, it was promptly halted by an injury in the second half of the season.
In his short career, he recorded career-highs of 11.8 rebounds per game, 2.1 blocks per game, and 18.7 points per game with the Lakers. The last team he was with was Indiana Pacers where he only played for two games before he was declared out from injury. It was his last year in the league, a classic case of a player full of potential but was cut short by an injury.
Kobe Bryant (18 years, 72 days)
Everyone knows who Kobe Bryant is. He made himself a household name, becoming the most accomplished high school draft pick in NBA history. However, basketball fans were doubtful of his talent at the start since he was the first guard to ever be drafted straight out of high school.
Bryant quickly disputed them by his outstanding performance with the Lakers with whom he played his entire 20-season professional career in the league. While he was still coming off the Lakers bench, he won the Slam Dunk Championship in 1997 and made an All-Star team in his second season.
He made himself known as the Black Mamba and, well, the rest is history. Throughout his career, fans found themselves with the Kobe fever that can be likened to Michael Jordan’s great influence in the league.
There is no doubt that Bryant was one of the most dangerous scorers in the NBA. The shooting guard star had a career stat averaging at 25 PPG, 5.2 RPG, and 4.7 APG. At 34 years and 104 days of age, Bryant made yet another record when he became the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points!
Upon his retirement in the league, his jersey numbers (8 and 24) were retired by the Lakers in 2017. Later on, it was more than basketball fans who grieved his tragic death at the age of 41. In honour of his memory, the NBA All-Star Game MVP Award was renamed as the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award.