As Lavar Ball often says, “Somebody gotta be better than Michael Jordan. Why not you?” Many boys around the world dream of playing in the NBA league. As they sit around the television wearing their favorite player’s jersey, Nike socks, and a basketball close by they all await the chance to turn their dreams into reality. However, what happens when your dream of declaring for the NBA draft is delayed due to an age restriction?
Some of the most notable players in NBA have managed to never step foot on a college court. From Kobe Bryant and LeBron James to Dwight Howard and Amar’e Stoudemire, several of the most prominent names in NBA history joined the league after their senior year in high school. Since he was just 17 at the time, Kobe’s parents had to cosign his contract with the Lakers until he was able to sign his own when he turned 18 before the season began. Now, twenty-two years later, Kobe Bryant is viewed around the world as an NBA legend.
After a huge influx of high school players declared for the 2005 draft, the NBA and its players union announced their controversial decision to increase the league’s minimum age limit to 19. In 2006, it became official that no player may sign with the NBA until they are at least 19 or older. As a result, this led to the infamous “One-and-Done Era.” However, there has been an ongoing debate to whether or not this rule has caused more harm than good. It is no surprise the life changing moment that occurs after one’s name is called during the NBA draft. The rule has required many players to delay their dreams of joining the NBA to play a year of college basketball. Contrarily, many top athletes are not even eligible to play college basketball due to ACT/SAT scores and funding. Is this rule fair to the player? What about the coaches? In recent years, NCAA coaches have emphasized the downfalls of the one-and-done rule. Often times, college teams lose scholarship money and star players when NBA hopefuls leave school to chase their dream after just one season.
However, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the Players Association are ready to make a change. Over the last couple years, there has been great speculation that the NBA may lift the age limit in the near future. On Tuesday, Adam Silver addressed the media in a press conference during summer league to discuss reducing the NBA’s age minimum from 19-years-old back down to 18. The ultimate NBA super-draft could potentially be in the works. What could this mean for the future of the sport and the NBA?
In order to allow the league to prepare for such a change and create a new possible development plan for the younger athletes, it is widely expected that the changed age limit won’t go into effect until the 2021 NBA draft. Although there is not a specific date as to when this change will occur, we know at least know one thing. The NBA is not going to have an age limit for incoming players much longer. Until then, we'll be on the lookout. The next LeBron James or Kevin Garnett could be within the high school class on 2021.
By Brionna Taylor