Most hyped NBA prospects of all time are LeBron James, Victor Wembanyama, Patrick Ewing, Zion Williamson, Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson.
With the 2023 NBA Draft set for June 22 at Barclays Center in New York City, the possible draft picks have been a major talking point among the broadcasters and basketball enthusiasts as a whole.
In the recently concluded draft lottery announced by Mark Tatum, San Antonio Spurs secured the No. 1 pick followed by Hornets and Portland.
With the Spurs looking to revamp their team, they will be absolutely jubilant to have the opportunity to pick Victor Wembanyama. Likewise, Charlotte will most likely prefer Brandon Miller and Trail Blazers will look to pick Scoot Henderson.
Ever since the lottery system was introduced in the 1985 draft, the buildup around the players has rapidly increased. And add that with the recent technological advancements, the draft prospects become superstars even before they are picked.
From the old times of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Wembanyama now, we have listed some of the most hyped NBA draft prospects over the years.
LeBron James - 2003
LeBron James tops the chart of all time most hyped NBA prospects. No one has been talked about so much as he was before the 2003 NBA Draft.
LeBron was called "The Chosen One" whilst coming out of St. Vincent-St. Mary high school. And why not, he had led the Fighting Irish team to three Division II state titles.
The popularity of King James was so staggering that ESPN televised many of his high school games back then. Furthermore, he had also featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated even before his junior year.
The 6 foot 9 inches tall basketball prodigy was routed as the true heir to Michael Jordan's throne. Two decades down the lane, LeBron has not only lived up to the expectations but even exceeded them being the top scoring leader in NBA history.
Victor Wembanyama - 2023
Victor Wembanyama is certain to be the first pick in the 2023 NBA draft. The French prodigy will play under veteran coach Gregg Popovich.
The 7 feet 3 inches tall center has gained attention to the near about level of LeBron ahead of the draft. Many basketball pundits and athletes including King James himself have tagged Wembanyama as a generational talent.
Thanks to his towering height along with exceptional mobility and 3-point scoring ability, Victor has already drawn comparisons to the likes of Kareem, Ralph Samson, and Dirk Nowitzki.
Furthermore, he also possesses the sensational defensive prowess capable of blocking shots and guarding small players. ESPN analyst Mike Schmitz has resembled his defensive impact to Rudy Gobert.
The 19-year-old Wembanyama recently won the 2023 LNB Pro A MVP Award, whilst bagging Best Scorer, Best Young Player, Best Defender and Best Blocker of the League awards as well.
Patrick Ewing - 1985
7 feet tall Patrick Ewing garnered massive hype before the 1985 NBA Draft with the introduction of the draft lottery for the first time ever.
Coming on to the draft, Ewing had become a more prominent name than some of the NBA stars. He carried four years of collegiate experience with Georgetown and led them to the national championship in 1984.
NY Knicks got lucky with the overall first-draft pick and they didn't waste a single second selecting the Hoya Destroyer. Patrick Ewing instantly repaid the faith becoming the 1986 Rookie of the Year.
Ewing scored a total of 24,815 points, 11,617 rebounds, and 2,894 blocks during his illustrious NBA career spanning nearly seventeen years.
Zion Williamson - 2019
Zion Williamson was picked first overall by the Pelicans in the 2019 NBA draft. He was selected ahead of the likes of Ja Morant and RJ Barrett.
With his footage of breathtaking dunks and electrifying blocks all over social media, Williamson had every single team looking out for him.
An exceptional mix of power, speed, and athleticism with a height of 6 feet 6 inches and 284 lb weight further added to the stature of Zion. The Pelicans were literally jumping in delight after getting the opportunity to pick the 18-year-old phenom.
Willaimson was rated a 5-star recruit by ESPN, 247Sports and Rivals coming out of Spartanburg Day high school. He was named ACC Player of the Year in his only freshman year with Duke.
Zanos suffered from a torn meniscus during the preseason and only made his NBA debut three months later on January 22, 2020. He has well and truly lived up to the expectations with an impressive return of 26 points, 7 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game to date.
Shaquille O'Neal - 1992
Shaq was by far and large the best prospect before the 1992 NBA draft. O'Neal was a giant figure at 7 feet 1 inch, weighing around 300 pounds.
His athleticism irrespective of the size amazed everyone while his tendency to make hook shots drew comparisons with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Shaquille averaged 21.6 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 4.6 blocks per game while playing collegiate basketball for the LSU Tigers from 1989-92.
He was drafted by Orlando Magic and made an instant impact averaging 23.4 points and 13.9 rebounds per game in his rookie season.
Shaq retired in 2011 as one of the best centers in the history of the NBA, while becoming the NBA Champion four times and league MVP once.
Anthony Davis - 2012
Davis played one season of college basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats before New Orleans drafted him with the first pick in 2012.
However, his hype started even before his collegiate career as he achieved remarkable feats during his high school days at Perspectives Charter. Anthony Davis was rated a 5-star recruit by Scout and Rivals.
Standing at the height of 6 feet 10 inches, Anthony possessed terrific shot-blocking abilities alongside his tenacity to constantly score 3-pointers.
Davis was named the most outstanding player of the 2012 NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament en route to leading Kentucky Wildcats to the national championship.
Greg Oden - 2007
Greg Oden was talked about everywhere ahead of the 2007 NBA draft The hype was so high that Portland picked Oden ahead of Kevin Durrant.
The 7 feet tall center was not just a big man with great athleticism but also possessed outlandish abilities on the vertical leap and agility drill.
Greg played one year of collegiate basketball for Ohio State Buckeyes averaging 15.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game. Furthermore, he also earned the accolade of the 2007 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and the Pete Newell Big Man Award.
Sadly, injuries plagued Oden throughout his career as he turned out to be one of the biggest draft busts. He played only 105 regular season games in the league before taking retirement at the age of 28.
Yao Ming - 2002
Former Chinese basketball sensation Yao Ming garnered great attention from the NBA fraternity. The China man was 7 feet 6 inches tall.
Yao played a total of 122 games for the Shanghai Sharks averaging 23.4 points and 15.4 rebounds per game before entering the NBA scene.
Ming made a greater impression after leading the Chinese national team to FIBA Asia Cup Championship with an MVP performance in 2001.
Cometh the 2002 draft, the China man was selected by Houston Rockets as the first overall pick. Yao Ming scored a total of 9,247 points and made the NBA All-Star 8 times whilst playing for the Rockets from 2002-11.
Allen Iverson - 1996
Despite standing at just 6 feet, Iverson made a name for himself as the best one on one player with exceptional dribbling and scoring abilities.
Allen played collegiate basketball for Georgetown Hoyas for two seasons averaging 23 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.6 steals per game. Ivy also won Big East Defensive Player of the Year awards consecutively in 1995 and 1996.
The 1996 draft class is still considered the best in history with the likes of Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Ray Allen, and Ben Wallace.
Getting selected as the first pick in such a star-studded lineup tells the volume of how popular and promising prospect was Ivy back in the day.
Allen instantly justified the buildup by winning the 1997 NBA Rookie of the Year award and the NBA Most Valuable Player later in 2001.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 1969
Kareem was by far the best prospect coming out of college basketball. Abdul-Jabbar had led UCLA to three National Championship titles.
He averaged 26.4 points and 15.5 rebounds per game while playing three years for the Bruins. Even in the era when there were very limited media outlets, there was unprecedented hype around Kareem.
Standing at a height of 7 feet 2 inches, Abdul-Jabbar was called the tower from Power. He absolutely dominated collegiate basketball and made headlines for his famous skyhook shot and dunk abilities.
Milwaukee Bucks made him the first overall pick in the 1979 NBA draft. Kareem relished a very successful NBA career playing 21 seasons, scoring a total of 38,387 points. Furthermore, he also won the Championship six times and made it to the illustrious list of players with the most rings.