There's no sure path to the NBA All-Star Game, but the Culligan City of Palms Classic is a good place to start. Four of the 24 players who'll take the court Sunday night in Charlotte once graced the hardwood at the City of Palms, and a fifth would have done so had he not been nursing an injury during his team's visit.
The game brings two Culligan City of Palms Classic teammates together on the same squad for the first time since high school. Joel Embiid and D'Angelo Russell were at the City of Palms with Montverde Academy in 2011, and Sunday, they'll reunite on Team Giannis, captained by Giannis Antetokounmpo. It'll be the second consecutive All-Star Game start for Embiid, while Russell is making his first-ever All-Star appearance amid a breakout season for him.
This year's McDonald's All American Boys Game will look familiar to fans who watch the Culligan City of Palms Classic. Ten of the 24 players on the McDonald's rosters announced Thursday have appeared in the City of Palms, one shy of the record 11 City of Palms players chosen for the 2017 McDonald's event.
McEachern (Powder Springs, Georgia) announced its presence as one of this season's truly elite teams when it blazed through the field to win the Culligan City of Palms Classic, and the team is still setting the high school basketball landscape afire.

The unbeaten squad led by electric point guard Sharife Cooper and Auburn commit Isaac Okoro has picked up a number of marquee victories this season, including a sweep of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nevada) and fellow City of Palms finalist Imhotep Charter (Philadelphia) in the Cancer Research Classic.
While the City of Palms Classic is consistently regarded as the top high school tournament in the country - boasting 165 all-time McDonald's All Americans, 72 active NBA players, 141 current players in the power seven conferences of college hoops, and countless high school state and national champions - it was not always this way. It had humble beginnings as a local holiday tournament, establishing Southwest Florida roots that run strong to this day. In the coming months we will be sharing some of the key moments and turning points in the history of our nationally recognized tournament.

To start, we travel back in time to 1973, when the City of Palms Classic began as The News-Press Christmas tournament. Featuring an array of local Southwest Florida talent, the event was an instant hit. The first tournament didn't feature nationally recognized players, but Immokalee High School went a perfect 3-0 to win the first championship. Little did the crowd at what was then called Edison Community College know that they were witnessing the birth of the country's premier high school basketball tournament.

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