NBA Players that Knew Each Other Before one or both of them got to the league

There have been a lot of NBA Players in the league’s history. But what you may not know is that some of them knew each other and had friendships before one or both of them entered the league. Today we’re looking at a couple, current and from history. The only rule is that these players had to have known each other before high school or college, since so many NBA players go to the same powerhouse schools and meet there.

(Honorable Mention) Steph Curry and Kevin Durant: This one is an honorable mention because while Durant and Curry briefly crossed paths as children, they never had any form of a friendship or relationship. When Durant was a kid, his AAU team walked into a gym in North Carolina and saw a kid stroking threes. Durant noticed the kid but the kid didn’t seem to notice him. That kid was Steph Curry. Their teams unfortunately never played each other, as Durant is older than Steph. But boy, wouldn’t that have been a game to see.

Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett:

Between his sophomore and junior seasons in South Carolina, Ray Allen played AAU ball and traveled to some cities on the east coast. During one of those trips, Ray Allen met another player from South Carolina, who went by the name of Kevin Garnett. While they weren’t on the same AAU team, they met as 16 year olds when a mutual friend of theirs was driving them to the University of South Carolina. In his autobiography, From the Outside, Ray Allen said, “‘Man, you’re like Jordan,’ Kevin used to say. ‘Every time he scores 30, you score 35.'” After many hours in cars together, Allen and Garnett bonded, and it showed in their 2008 championship run. That same summer, Ray Allen met Stephon Marbury, who was going into 10th grade. When Ray Allen wasn’t selected for the Nike Annual Indianapolis camp All-Star game, Stephon said to him, “Yo. I saw you play all week. You’re better than they are.” To this, Allen responded, “What am I supposed to do? Run down to the floor and tell them to put me in?” The look on Marbury’s face answered that question. Too bad Allen didn’t bother, or know that he would be traded for Stephon in the 1997 draft.

Quinn Cook and Victor Oladipo:

Believe it or not, Quinn Cook and Victor Oladipo went to the same middle school and high school. They played on the same team for 6 straight years, from 5th grade to 11th. But as Quinn Cook said of their relationship, “We kept pushing each other.” “When we got to high school, we went to DeMatha, which was the biggest school in the area. And the lights were on, the lights were bright. Me and him didn’t really play a lot our first year. And then we constantly got better, got better. Our second year together, we took the league and the city by storm. And then our third year, it was curtains for everybody. We just ran through the city. We both made first-team All-Met [Metro], and we kept pushing each other.” Both have had successful careers, with Oladipo being an All-Star and Cook a 2-time NBA Champion.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain:

When Kareem (then Lew Alcindor) was a freshmen in high school, he and a buddy of his named Wesley went to an NBA game, and his friend had the idea to go try and meet Wilt Chamberlain. They both got to meet him, and this was the start of a friendship between the two. Chamberlain didn’t have to remember he was just some kid, because Lew was 6’11” at the time and played for the best high school basketball team in the country. Later on, while working for HARYOU, which stands for Harlem Youth Opportunities United, Lew met Wilt at a YMCA. From then on, they became real friends, and spent a lot of time together in the summer. And eventually, they played against each other, with Lew Alcindor winning the 1971 championship and Finals MVP while Wilt Chamberlain won the award the very next year.

Baron Davis and Paul Pierce:

Baron Davis and Paul Pierce both grew up in Inglewood, California, a rough place filled with gang violence. They met each other at a YMCA when they were nine years old. The two became incredibly good friends, growing up together, making it to the NBA, and are now both fathers. Paul Pierce had a better career than Baron Davis, but Baron Davis was no slouch himself. He was a two-time All-Star to Paul’s 10 appearances.

Mike Conley and Greg Oden:

Mike Conley and Greg Oden did a lot together in their formative years. They both played on the same 7th grade AAU team, which is where they met. Then they both went to high school together, at Lawrence North High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. Then they both became 5-star recruits and played at Ohio State University together. Yes, they played on the same team from 7th grade to their freshmen year in college. That’s six years. Then they both entered the NBA draft in 2007, with Greg Oden going first and getting selected ahead of Kevin Durant. Mike Conley was drafted fourth overall, to the Grizzlies. Since Oden went to the Trail Blazers, their incredible streak of being on the same team ended. But that’s not all that ended. So did Greg Oden’s career after he dropped out of the NBA due to back injuries, while playing just south of 150 games. Mike Conley, on the other hand, has had an incredible career, is an NBA All-Star, and won the NBA Sportsmanship Award.

Gary Payton and Jason Kidd:

Gary Payton and Jason Kidd both grew up in the Oakland area of California. Payton, being five years older than Kidd, took him under his wing and taught him the game. This wasn’t the easiest for Kidd, who almost quit the game of basketball. Why did he almost quit? Because for two straight years, he never scored a point on Gary Payton. There’s a reason he’s the only point guard to win Defensive Player of the Year and is nicknamed “The Glove.” According to Jason Kidd, his parents would ask, “What’s wrong?” Kidd then said, “I think I should pick a different sport because I am not very good at it.” Payton also told Kidd that he was soft and wasn’t good enough. While this was tough for a high school kidd (pun intended), Gary Payton may be the reason that Jason Kidd made it to the NBA. His tough love strategies worked on Jason, and he led his high school to two straight state championships, and was part of only 14 losses in his time there. As a senior in high school, he averaged 25 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, and 7 steals as the Naismith Prep Player of the Year and became an NBA All-Star. All because of some “tough love” from “the glove.”

Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley:

Both hoopers growing up in the DMV area, Michael Beasley met Kevin Durant when he stole some pizza from him {ADD CONTEXT}. Somehow, Kevin Durant lost his anger at him and they became good friends. This is probably because Durant has a net worth north of $100 million, so he can buy all the pizza he wants. They spent a lot of time together as kids, and both accomplished their dream of playing in the NBA. Durant said of Beasley, “He sort of lived with me almost. He would come over before school, after school, stay late and then leave. Our relationship is very tight. We’re brothers.”

Comment down below which story was your favorite, don’t forget to follow the blog, and as always, have an awesome day!

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Credit to the NBA for Pictures


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