There have been many discussions murmuring around about the age limit for the NBA and whether or not there should be a change. There was once a time where you could enter the league straight out of high school but that changed in 2005, when the newly signed Collective Bargaining Agreement stated kids must be at least 19 before entering the NBA. A new agreement was made in 2011, basically stating the same rules that players had to be at least 19 and one year removed from high school graduation.
NBA commissioner, Adam Silver has not been quiet on his opinion on the draft eligibility rules. In fact, he wants to increase the amount of time to two years removed from high school graduation. One guy who’s very opposed to this idea and the current rule is a future hall-of-famer, that entered the NBA straight out of high school and he goes by the name of Kobe Bryant. Silver explained that a lot of discussion between Bryant and himself have been exclusively on this topic. Kobe is all about helping his peers and the young guys coming up, and he feels that upping the ante on the college requirement, just isn’t a good idea.
“It didn’t make any sense,” Bryant said. “You want the kid to go to college, and some players go to college for four years and don’t learn anything about the game whatsoever and get a degree in geography. What does that do?”
Silver believes that the change would be beneficial to the player’s health and their development.
“We’d rather these young men spend two years out of high school rather than one,” Silver said. “We feel that these players are better off having more time developing as players before they enter this league. The more we study the wear and tear on their bodies, we’re now seeing new types of injuries in young players that we used to see when they were much older. I think there needs to be more of a holistic response to this. It isn’t just about whether the minimum age should be 19 vs. 20.”
Kobe being the basketball genius that he is, believes it’s all in the learning process and not necessarily how long you spend in college.
“We have to do a much better job of educating our young players and how to think about the game and how to play the game the right way,” Bryant said. “A lot of the kids are going to college and not really learning those basics, how to process games or watch game film. It’s our responsibility to teach. The old adage is that you come to the pros and you have to be ready and you’re a professional. That’s a load of crap. The learning should never stop when you’re in college or in the pros. We have to do a much better job teaching them.”
It’s safe to say that they disagree on this topic but they both make valuable points, but I believe forcing kids to stay in college for another year is not the way to go. This argument coming from a guy like Kobe is major because he’s proven that you can be a successful NBA player without any college experience. Of course when guys enter the league fresh out of high school or 1 year removed, some of them enter the league and are not ready but the same thing happens with guys who play four years of college basketball. You hope for a more developed player after another year of basketball but that doesn’t always happen. There are always cogs in the system and it will always be that way, whether players are eligible one year after high school or four; there will still be players that are not ready.
The important factor that can’t be left out of this is the risk that comes along with forcing a kid to stay away from the NBA another year. With another year of college comes the risk of injury and the risk of the player’s draft stock decreasing. Also, with Silver’s two year system, you’re taking money out of these kid’s pockets. We all know a lot of these guys have no intent of graduating college. They want to get through one year of college and go to the NBA because they come for poor backgrounds and they need the money for their families and themselves. These players are depended upon to support their families and looked upon as “the way out” of the hood. So if this rule is to go into effect, I expect a lot of players to go overseas and less to college.
I don’t agree with Adam Silver’s two year plan and if it was up to me, there would be no restriction. If a kid wants to enter the draft out of high school, then so be it. We’ve seen multiple successful players come out of high school and have a huge impact, including two of the biggest to ever play the game in Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Of course there’s going to be guys that aren’t ready, but that’s going to happen whether they enter the draft out of high school or wait four years. The bad ones will weed themselves out like always. The decision needs to be in the hand of the player.