The National Basketball Association is as big as it gets for an up-and-coming basketballer. NBA is the dream for everyone that picks up a basketball. They all want to succeed and bring their team and themselves glory. And have their names etched in the history of this sport. Basketball has new talents coming up every year. New players get drafted straight out of college every season. They say, “If you’re good enough. You’re old enough”. And that’s how sporting world works all over the globe generally. Now, here’s taking a look at the top 10 Youngest NBA players ever.
10. Andris Biedriņš
He was a center drafted as the 11th pick by the Golden State Warriors in the draft. He was a highly anticipated European talent. Andris made his debut at just the age of 18 Years, 7 Months, and 3 days. His first game was on November 5, 2004. The Latvian played for several years in the NBA for the Golden State Warriors. Despite never really making a great impact. And not improving on his first season. He was traded to Utah Jazz in 2013-14 season. After spending less than a year with the Jazz, he was waived off. Ending his time at the NBA. He is the 10th youngest NBA player ever.
9. Yaroslav Korolev
The Russian was a power forward drafted as the 12th overall pick by the Los Angeles Clippers. He made his debut aged just 18 years 5 months and 28 days on November 4, 2005. His time at NBA was a very short one. As his contract was waived off by the Clippers before the 2007 season even began. They offered him a contract extension on July 6, 2007, and then later rescinded the offer in September 2007. He is the 9th youngest player in NBA history.
8. Tracy McGrady
The shooting guard was drafted as the 9th overall pick in the 1997 draft by the Toronto Raptors. And, what a pick it turned out to be. Drafted at just 18 years of age. McGrady made his debut aged just 18 Years, 5 Months, and 7 days old on October 31, 1997. He lit up the NBA. Tracy was a deadly shooter from anywhere on the court. With a great stroke and a very good three-point range. He started off as a player who didn’t get many minutes. But, later on he became a guaranteed starter. And then guided the franchise to their first-ever playoffs in the 1999-00 season.
McGrady is a 7 time all-star and 2-time scoring champion. He is a hall of famer. Many claim that he should have been inducted in the 75th Anniversary team. Nonetheless, McGrady is one of the very few on this list to have done their talent justice. And he is the 8th youngest player in NBA history.
7. Bill Willoughby
He was drafted as the 19th overall pick in the NBA draft in 1975 by the Atlanta Hawks. He made his debut aged just 18 years, 5 months, and 3 days on October 23, 1975. Bill, like everyone else on this list, skipped college to turn pro. Although, he stated that he regrets not going to College. He did complete his degree aged 44 in communications. Which was financed by the NBA. Bill did not have a great career at the top of the game. He was a center all throughout his life before they asked him to play as a Forward when he turned pros. He played for 6 teams. And was constantly traded. Although, he once did achieve fame by blocking Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s famous Skyhook. Which was dubbed unstoppable. He is the 7th youngest player in NBA history.
6. Stan Brown
The forward made his debut aged just 18 years 4 months and 17 days on November 13, 1947. He was the first player to come directly out of High School to play professional. Stan held the record for the youngest ever player for just more than a year. Brown played for the Philadelphia Warriors. Which are now known as the Golden State Warriors. After retiring, he became a truck delivery driver. And then died of a heart attack at the age of 80 in 2009. He is the 6th youngest NBA player ever.
5. Darko Miličić
The center made his debut at the age of just 18 years 4 months and 11 days on October 31, 2003. He was the second overall pick in the 2003 draft by the Detroit Pistons. There was a lot of hype around him. But, unfortunately, he didn’t live up to the hype, as he had a pretty subdued career at the top level. The center played in the NBA till 2012. He had an underwhelming career according to his potential and is the 6th youngest NBA player ever.
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4. Kobe Bryant
He made his debut with the Lakers aged just 18 Years 2 months and 11 days. Although, he was drafted when he was just 17. “The mamba” was the 13th pick in the draft. He spent all his 20-year-old glittering career at the Lakers. Kobe is one of the greatest players to have ever graced the court. The shooting guard is regarded widely as one of the greatest scorers ever. Kobe won everything there was to win. He is a 5 Time NBA champion. He won it three times in a row between 2000-2002. Mamba is a pure legend of the game. He was a staggering 18 times NBA All-star. Kobe was in the All-star team every season in the 21st century till he retired.
The Lakers have retired his both No.24 and the No.8 jersey. The two-time scoring champion was one of the best shooters and dunkers the game has ever seen. He once hit 82 Points in a single game. This total is only bettered by Wilt Chamberlain, who once hit 100. Kobe ranks 4th in the all-time scoring charts. The Mamba was inducted into the 75th Anniversary Team, cementing his status at the top of the ladder. He retired in 2016. He is the 4th youngest NBA player ever.
Kobe died unfortunately and untimely in 2020 in a helicopter crash along with his daughter Gianna.
3. Jim Brown
He was picked up by the Chicago Stags. He made his debut aged just 18 years, 1 month, and 5 days on November 30, 1948. Jim also, like everyone, came just out of high school. His career was a very short one. He made only 35 appearances along with his career. Jim played in the NBA for just two years. He was traded to the Nuggets in his second season. And then, he retired from NBA and worked as a contractor. He died in 2003. Jim is the 3rd youngest NBA player ever.
2. Jermaine O’Neal
He was the 17th overall pick in the 1996 draft by the Portland Trail Blazers. Jermaine made his debut aged just 18 years 1 month and 23 days on December 5, 1996. He is also the youngest player ever to score 20 points. Jermaine held the record for the youngest ever player for almost a decade. Although, his college career was in jeopardy due to him not getting good grades. Which almost meant that he wouldn’t have had a career. He then was drafted in the NBA. He played for 7 teams over his career. The center took retirement in 2014. Not the most glittering career but still a good one. Although, the potential wasn’t fulfilled after making a debut at such a young age. He is the 2nd youngest NBA player ever.
1. Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum made his debut aged just 18 years and 6 days on November 2, 2005. He was the 10th pick in the overall draft by the Lakers. This was also the final year that High school basketballers were allowed to jump straight into the NBA. He played in the pre-season at 17 years of age, making him the only player to have played in the NBA before even becoming an adult. The center was with the Lakers till 2012. After that was traded to the Cavaliers. And then he ended his career after an unfortunate knee injury at just 26 years of age with the Pacers. He is the youngest NBA player ever.
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