Chris Paul

Before LeBron James was crowned King, he was just a kid in Akron. Before Dirk Nowitzki became big in Dallas, he was just a scrawny kid in Germany. Before being the deadly Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant was “bean junior”. These stars and other marquee NBA players are now world renowned athletes making millions of dollars, but before they started to make waves in the big league, they were all dreamers. Cavs Nation gathered some rare photos of these superstars from the day when no one, even themselves, had the slightest clue of their destiny.

15. Chris Paul

Christopher Emmanuel Paul grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He started playing basketball at the age of five and was outstanding in high school. Paul lost his grandfather, his biggest supporter, to a murder during Paul’s senior year. Paul’s grandfather, who passed at 61, was in the gym in spirit watching at Paul scored a career high 61 points. Now he’s a star point guard for the Los Angeles Clippers.

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LeBron James

14. LeBron James

LeBron Raymore James was born in Akron Ohio, he picked up the basketball game at the age of nine. Moving around a lot of a young age didn’t stop James from playing the sport that he loved. He became a standout player in only high school and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated his senior year. Since being drafted first over all in 2003, his career has gone nowhere but up. As the star forward for the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron has made his case as one of the best to ever play the game.

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Dwyane Wade

13. Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Tyrone Wade Jr. was born in Chicago Illinois and he didn’t have the best childhood. Despite the struggles at home with his mother, Wade looked towards basketball as an escape from the hard times he had to endure. Now all his hard work has paid off as he’s helped bring the Miami Heat, three NBA championships.

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Dirk Nowitzki

12. Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki grew up in Würzburg, Germany. The seven foot forward for the Dallas Mavericks grew tall as a child and his basketball skills attracted the attention of a German International player who trained him to be the arguably the best European player in history.

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Blake Griffin

11. Blake Griffin

Blake Austin Griffin was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After focusing on baseball and football as a child, Griffin began to devote his time to basketball as he entered the ninth grade. He played basketball with his brother Taylor at Oklahoma, and was selected number one overall in the 2009 Draft. He’s now the all star power forward for the Los Angeles Clippers.

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Klay Thompson

10. Klay Thompson

Klay Alexander Thompson grew up in Los Angeles, California. He started playing basketball at a young age, and was even little league teammates with the Cavs power forward, Kevin Love. Thompson went to Washington State University for three years before declaring for the NBA Draft.

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Brandon Jennings

9. Brandon Jennings

Brandon Byron Jennings was born in Compton, California. He made a name for himself during his senior year where he averaged 35 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds per game. Funny that he wears a Pistons jersey in the photo, and then ends up playing for them less than 20 years later.

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Kobe Bryant

8. Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bean Bryant grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He began to play basketball at three years old and even played overseas for a while. Bryant was a standout player in high school, and was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets before being traded to the Lakers. Imagine if they had only kept him…

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Paul George

7. Paul George

Paul Clifton Anthony George was born in Palmdale, California. George started his career playing organized basketball at Knight High School and went to Fresno State for two years before deciding on moving up to the NBA.

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Stephen Curry

6. Stephen Curry

Wardell Stephen Curry II was born in Akron Ohio but grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. Curry’s father, Dell, played for the Charlotte Hornets. Steph and his brother Seth used to shoot around with their father’s team during warm ups and were always around basketball. Now, both are in the NBA (Stephen with the Warriors and Seth with the Kings).

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Kevin Durant

5. Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant grew up in Washington, D.C. He favorite team growing up was the Toronto Raptors, with Vince Carter being his favorite player. Durant could make a return to the D.C. area when he becomes a free agent in 2016.

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Russell Westbrook 2

4. Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook was born in Long Beach, California. Westbrook was big on basketball, but didn’t get the attention of college scouts until the summer before his senior year. Westbrook averaged 25 points, eight rebounds, two assists, and three steals per game during his senior year and committed to UCLA after. He was then drafted to the Seattle Supersonics, now known as the Oklahoma City Thunder.

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Dwight Howard

3. Dwight Howard

Dwight David Howard grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He decided to get serious about basketball around the age of nine, and was freakishly lanky in high school, where he played the point guard position! Howard skipped out on college and declared for the draft in 2004, where he ended up being the first overall pick.

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Carmelo Anthony

2. Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony was born in Brooklyn, New York. His family moved to Baltimore when he was eight. By the end of his junior year, he had announced he would be attending Syracuse University. Anthony’s whole career has been fixated around New York as he grew up there, played his college ball there, and now plays professionally there with the Knicks.

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Kyrie Irving

1. Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Andrew Irving was grew up in West Orange, New Jersey after moving from Australia to the U.S. when he was two. He was raised by his father, also a basketball player, and was selected number one overall in the 2011 NBA Draft after just 11 games at Duke.