10. Darryl Dawkins made the NBA leap as a High Schooler in 1975
One of the all-time great role players of this league, center Darryl Dawkins was the first person to be selected directly from high school in the NBA Draft. Although it was controversial at the time, ‘Chocolate Thunder’ played 14 seasons in the NBA — most of which was spent between the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Nets.
Dawkins did everything you could ask of a center in his day. He was a punishing rim defender and shot blocker who asserted his will at the basket. Measuring in at an inch below seven feet tall, Dawkins was such a ferocious dunker that he forced the NBA to adopt breakaway rims because he repeatedly shattered backboards.
Although he never reached All-Star status, Dawkins is a legend in his own right whose name still echoes through hoops lore. For this specific list, he was a pioneer of the game.