13 times Sports Illustrated proclaimed a high school athlete the next big thing
Rick Mount (1966)
Sports Illustrated looks at Rick Mount, a high school basketball player from small-town Lebanon, Indiana, and declares him ready for big things. The first high school athlete to make it onto the cover of the magazine, Mount went on to play at Purdue before a brief pro career.
Tom McMillen (1970)
In 1970, Pennsylvania high schooler Tom McMillen was one of the nation's most highly sought high school recruits—a near seven-footer with aspirations of becoming a doctor. He would later go on to play at Maryland and in the NBA, become a Rhodes Scholar and serve in the U.S. Congress.
Mike Peterson (1971)
Kansas kid Mike Peterson starred at baseball, football and basketball in high school. He went on to briefly play in an independent baseball league after attending Kansas State Teachers College.
Bruce Hardy (1974)
Another all-American all-around athlete, Hardy hailed from Utah. He played basketball, football and baseball, excelling in the classroom, too. He decided to play football at Arizona State and proceeded to the NFL, where he spent more than a decade with the Dolphins.
Bobby Carpenter (1981)
Sports Illustrated anoints Bay Stater Bobby Carpenter the best high school hockey player in America. He went on to have a lengthy NHL career spanning two decades after the Washington Capitals drafted him.
Kristie Phillips (1986)
For the first time, Sports Illustrated features a female high school athlete on its cover. Kristie Phillips, a star 14-year-old gymnast is featured. She did not wind up competing in Seoul at the Olympics in 1988, as growth derailed her hopes. She went on to LSU on a cheerleading scholarship.
Jon Peters (1989)
When Texan Jon Peters won a record 51 straight games as a high school pitcher, Sports Illustrated highlighted the 18-year-old. He went on to play at Texas A&M until he tore his rotator cuff.
Kevin Garnett (1995)
Kevin Garnett makes his first appearance on the cover of the magazine. It would not be his last. At the time, Garnett was just 19 and a recent high school graduate — but also a lock to be picked high in the NBA Draft. He later won an MVP in Minnesota and a title in Boston.
LeBron James (2002)
In 2002, LeBron James was a high school phenom at St. Vincent-St. Mary High in Akron, Ohio. He would be drafted with the first pick in the NBA Draft right out of high school by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers and, well, you know the rest...
Sebastian Telfair (2004)
Sebastian Telfair would not have quite the same NBA success as the last high school basketball player to grace the cover of the magazine, but he was still a huge high school superstar as a teenager in New York. He jumped straight to the NBA, where he played for 10 seasons as a journeyman point guard.
Bryce Harper (2009)
At 16, Bryce Harper was a super-prospect better than A-Rod or Ken Griffey Jr. at the same age. Eight years later, Harper's baseball career is right on track. Through five years on the Nationals, he's been an All-Star four times and won an MVP.
Jabari Parker (2012)
Chicago high school star Jabari Parker gets best "since LeBron" treatment on the cover. He went on to star as a one-and-done at Duke and is now starting on the Bucks.
Hunter Greene (2017)
The latest high schooler to make it to the cover is Hunter Greene, a hard-thrower from Notre Dame High School in California.