The Unaccompanied Minors of the NBA
Just five short years ago, through collective bargaining agreement negotiations between the NBA and the Player’s Association, a decree was issued that banned all high school players from making an early jump straight into the league. The new rule deemed that any player entering the draft must be at least 19 years of age by the end of the calendar year in which the draft is held and players that attended a U.S. high school are further required to be at least one year removed from his respective high school class’ graduation.
Simply put, you must play one year of college ball at minimum, or as we’ve seen with players like Brandon Jennings, a year of pro ball overseas.
Since the inception of the rule, there has been more controversy than outright acceptance, especially from prominent figures in college basketball such as Hall of Famer, coach Bob Knight. Knight believes that the one-and-done players are diminishing what the college game represents and additionally hurting many top-flight programs throughout the country by putting a mountain of pressure on the coaches to essentially get it right, and win a national championship within a tight one year window.
As recently as last week, we even received input from UCLA and Los Angeles Lakers legend, Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Kareem stated that the NBA should raise the age limit to 21, a considerable spike from 19. It is his personal belief that by the time a player’s junior collegiate season is completed, he will have attained a sufficient amount of knowledge about the game and of himself, thereby making him that much more prepared for the life of a professional athlete. Jabbar even addressed LeBron James’ enigmatic postseason exit by saying, “He would have come into the professional ranks very polished, given his innate gifts.”
If you’ve already formed an opinion, let’s see what side of this debate you end up supporting by the time we complete our due diligence in exploring this issue.
NEXT: I’m ready coach!
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