NBA Minimum Age Rule a Cruel Fraud

If the US Army lets 17 and 18-year-old join, why not the NBA? If a 17-year-old has million-dollar skills, why force him to risk a million-dollar injury playing at no cost while pretending to be a student? None of those ballyhooed European and South American NBA stars had to attend college; they went straight from high school into their nation's pro league. If a 17-year-old actor wants to learn Chaucer and Descartes, he can do so on his own, or at a university, while still taking million-dollar roles. Nothing prevents a similarly minded 17-year-old basketball player from doing the same... except the stupid NBA rule. Sadly, most 17-year-old basketball phenoms lack academic interest; forcing them into college, of course, does not force them to take, or engage in, meaningful academic work. What a sham.

The only real solution: universities must eliminate interscholastic competitions and the oxymoronic "athletic scholarships".


sixstringslinger said...

I don't know Paul. I think the NBA is right to do this. They have a developmental league for younger, college-age players who don't want to go through the college ranks, or who don't have the grades to qualify for college ball, but have the athletic skills.

The reasoning for a minimun age requirement is that far too many - far more than not - of the younger players who jump right to the NBA and fail miserably and drag the overall quality of the product down with them.

For every Kobe Bryant, or LeBron James there are thousands of kids who aren't ready for the big show, but with a couple more years of college ball, or developmental league ball under their belts might be.

If these kids want to play professionally that badly they can always go to the developmental league and hone their skills there. Going that route offers them a much better chance at succeeding in the NBA if and when they get there.

I see nothing wrong with this.

sixstringslinger said...

And don't feel too sorry for these kids that are "forced" to stay in college and play college ball for 3 or 4 years before going pro. They're not exactly playing for "free" while at university. Because of their athletic abilities many of them are able to go to college who might not be able to otherwise. And with the current cost of a college education, that's a lot of $$ we're talking about.

Besides, the NBA and it's franchises are no different from any other business. They the right to institute employee age requirements as much as any other business would.

Paul Hue said...

I agree that the NBA should make choices that result in it producing the best product. If limiting employing an age requirement helps them, then I support it. That takes us back to the only possible true solution to this mess: eliminating "athletic scholarships" from all universities, and on top of that, all intercollegiate sports competitions. That would result in a real developmental league, as in Europe.