Or Should They Be Able To Play Straight Out Of High School?
According to NBA Media Ventures, LLC, “The National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, and the NBA Development League” all makeup the global sports and business, known as the NBA. The NBA has become the world’s favorite sporting entertainment and one of the most worthwhile professional team sporting association in the world. The NBA and WNBA have been able to use its combination of competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment to have a unique global impact on social change, self-achievement, and diversity in various aspects of society such as work, sports and school. On the other end of the spectrum, the NBA Development League is the NBA’s official minor league, which aids in preparing players and coaches, along with other necessary staff for the NBA. It is also useful in identifying and developing natural talent for the NBA while it offers the best professional basketball that is reasonably priced, in a fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
The NBA has a rule that has been in existence from 2005, which restricts players from playing until they are 19 years old or have completed a minimum of one year in college before being eligible for the NBA draft (Allen Barra, 2012). Even though players are against this rule from its inception, the NBA is standing behind it, notwithstanding the fact that there are superstars that have been drafted before this rule was enforced. Is this rule enhancing the NBA or just hindering young players from entering the league?
Every player, who has a passion for the game of basketball dreams of eventually playing for the NBA, but does this mean they should forgo all other opportunities. Life throws a curve ball, this simply means not every plan goes accordingly, how many children say, they want to be a doctor, lawyer, astronaut, the president of the country. And how many achieve their dream? Because having a ‘backup’ plan or more than one dream is necessary, and this is true also for persons dreaming of becoming NBA superstars. The idea of drafting young people for the NBA immediately after completing high school is preposterous, these young men and women drafted straight from high school will have had no chance for further development in the sport. They will have no chance to find themselves, no chance to realize that they have other options and what those options are. Making players wait until they are 19 years old is a good move by the NBA, as it gives them time to find themselves and also develop their skills and physical potency that is required for professional basketball.
One year in college if they choose to go is by no means a sufficient college education but it would have given players some insight, and may have motivated them to continue at some point in the future as it is easier to continue college later in life than to start college late (Matt Lewis, 2013). There are three major reasons why having the age limit in the draft is beneficial; firstly, it gives the young high school graduates an additional year to mature both physically and mentally for the hardships of being a professional athlete. Secondly, it lets the teams looking at potential young men and women have better insight because the players would have had a chance to play against better developed talent to prove their worth. Finally, it allows teams to be more financially sustainable and causes them to put a superior team on the court (Dan Hilton, 2008).
As it relates to the additional year before drafting, Dan Hilton, 2008 says, these high school children need more time to grow and mature, which makes a huge difference when they are in the league and need to physically match up against opponents while trying to score or defend. Nonetheless, there are always the exceptional few who do extremely well such as LeBron James, Amaré Stoudemire and Shawn Kemp when they enter the pro games straight out of high school (Dan Hilton, 2008). But they are just the exception as majority of players need the middle ground that college basketball or playing overseas offers for further development (Matt Lewis, 2013). However, the “one and done” rule, which was established in 2007 has given players the chance to grow in this time span even though there is no great academic achievement that can be accomplished in one year.
The NFL have a similar rule for many years that has never been disputed, because the NFL realizes that any physical contact sport requires individuals to be in the best physical shape. And players must possess mature mental capabilities in order to achieve peak performance from its players, and this is the direction the NBA is taking to ensure it puts quality players on the courts for all games. But if players were restricted from entering the NBA for at least two years as proposed by Adam Silver, the new NBA commissioner. Players would be able to choose college programs that can earn them a diploma or associate degree in an area of interest, while developing their basketball skills and improving their physical capabilities (By Stephen Babb, 2014).
Secondly, when NBA teams and executives have more time whether the current one year waiting time or the proposed two years. They get to watch high school players develop during the time in college or overseas or the NBA D-league, they are able to make informed decisions when drafting players. This allows teams along with their managers to see the players against better competition which enables them to make calculated choices regarding their draft selections, since players selected are given guaranteed contracts (Matt Lewis, 2013). Also, the NBA and all of society believe that education is extremely important, this is why promoting education first and as a "back-up" plan for our young athletes is of great importance. Creating options for the young athletes is the reason college should be a part of this plan, one year of college will never significantly help, but it will have some impact on players learning responsibility as well as valuable life lessons.
Thirdly, creating superior teams and maintaining financial sustainability is a necessity to ensure the longevity and viability of the NBA. As stated by Stephen Babb, the NBA's viewpoint is that, waiting at least one year will be of ought most importance since NBA coaches have realized that one of the main issues with the younger players entering the league is they have never had a chance to lead. The NBA is an adult league that requires proficient leader and it is believed that many of these young players would benefit from going to college before coming to the league. Matt Lewis likens the basketball player to someone who wants to be a business man, he illustrates that when someone wants to become a businessman, he/she will choose a school that offers a decent business program. The chosen school would develop the required skill sets and help connect him/her to a company that would welcome them to perform their craft at the highest level. It is the same for Basketball programs, when players go to a college, most of them not being academically inclined but the school has a great basketball program, and the players advance to the next level of playing basketball.
On the other hand if players are drafted straight out of high school because he/she has no intention of going to college or waiting one year, then there are also three major reasons why the age limit should be retracted. According to Fred Carter, 2014, firstly there is the time factor since an NBA career is not as long as regular careers that allows you to work until you are old. Then it is all about the money as players want to get started in the salary-cap system right away since one of the point of college is to get higher education to earn higher income, the players can bypass college and start earning. Thirdly, player don’t want to risk missing their opportunity at being drafted because of injuries that can occur while playing college basketball.
In terms of the time factor, one has to keep in mind that they could get injured which could hurt their NBA draft stock or possibly end their career (L. Beasley, 2014). As was mentioned before, there are the exceptional few, who are deemed ready for the NBA straight out of high school what it takes to go pro immediately. What if these exceptions had gone to college and had the unfortunate incident that ruined their NBA career or altered it from becoming prenominal to just average. Beasley states that it is also the possibility that a player’s drafting standard can decline if his stats are not as remarkable as his final year of high school or if he struggles in certain areas. One also has to remember that the NBA is a game that relies on youthful exuberant, as old people won’t do too well in this setting. Unlike regular careers that persons are able to work until retirement, an NBA career just has a few seasons that is four seasons on the first draft contract and then the fifth season the professional contract. If players go to college they will most likely be too old to be considered for another major contract (Arn Tellem, 2001). Hence, an early start equates a longer career which means longer earning period to prepare for retirement and possible starting new ventures after the NBA.
Secondly, the sooner you get to the NBA league, the sooner you get to complete your first contract and move on to the superstar contract that earns you millions and takes you to celebrity status. When an extremely-talented high school player has to attend college, he's giving up four years of being paid while learning to play professional basketball, and how to deal with the challenges that comes with being a NBA pro (Fred Carter, 2014). The point of college is to receive a better education to increase your ability to make more money. Therefore, there is no major different between someone going to Harvard for business and going straight to the NBA for basketball (Matt Lewis, 2013). The only acceptable difference between the two, is that, in the basketball industry, the first round draft contracts pays players for basically learning the game entering the professional arena, while Harvard requires two or more years of persons time and money to earn their degree.
Finally, the potential for irrevocable damage to a players drafting potential can be drastically altered by going to college. When playing college ball, there is the possibility of injury before drafting and this can put a damper on the player’s career because the sustained injury cause the player to reconstruct their game contingent on the type of injury that is experienced (L. Beasley, 2014). There is also the possibility that a potentially great player’s career will end before it has truly started because not all injuries are any to rehabilitate. This in many cases will leave players in a state of regret and depression instead of moving forward with their lives, thereby giving entrance to the possibility of these players becoming a danger to themselves and society by means of drug addiction and violent outburst.
In addition to the three reasons to make the jump to the NBA straight out of high school is the fact that not all players will have the academic requirements to enter college. Not everyone does well academically and players are no different, they are all different with varying capabilities in both sports and academics. A good example of this situation is Brandon Jennings, the highest recruited high school basketball player in 2008 from America. According to Brandon Wright, “Jennings was to attend the University of Arizona after he finishes high school. But, his grades and test scores are not where they need to be to get into the school. So now this Los Angeles native has decided to play one season in Europe”. Clearly entering the league straight out of high school is no easy task! And this creates a sense of deception when we watch the pros of the league that did, and did it well! Kobe Bryant and Lebron James make it look easy! (Brandon Wright, 2008).
According to Allen Barra, 2012, there are also added benefits of college basketball for the NBA because when the best players are already household names, they are well received by fans when they are drafted. Hence NBA suffers no financial distress when they wait an additional year or two to draft the players, since this works to their benefit because the players are more famous when they darn an NBA uniform. On the other hand, while NBA is getting benefits the colleges and players are not so beneficial because the whole process of one year in college is detrimental to the schools that the players choose to attend. It is most difficult to build a basketball team and compete with players who choose to leave after a year because the college has no stable consistent team and that limits their chances of winning any college championships. The players, however, get to receive a year of college instruction that they would not have gotten if the rule were nonexistent but what good is this time in college if they achieve nothing from it, this is one reason the time in college should be extended to at least two years.
Players are against this rule because they are anxious to start their careers and to start earning ‘the big money’ that comes with being a professional basketball player, not to mention the status that comes with it. Regardless of all that, I strongly believe that players should be restricted from drafting at least one year allowing them to create multiple routes to success. In the waiting time some players may choose the route of college, others might, choose the route of playing overseas, while some might decide to learn a new skill like engineering. Whatever they decide, this waiting time allows them to grow as an individual, to learn and pursue something new, to develop weak areas and mostly to discover that there is life beyond basketball. Thus when life decides to throw them a curve ball they are not left without options or more importantly, they are not left wondering what options they have available and which route they will now have to venture. Players faced with these unfortunate dilemmas will know what their options are and the route they need to choose, not only that, but they will know which direction will take them to success.
It is high time people stop debating the ‘one and done’ rule because it is has been an asset to the NBA and the players, however, for it to become of even greater benefit the rule needs to be adjusted to a longer waiting time. This requirement, especially if it is extended, will allow players to grow and develop in college both physically and mentally for the chosen sport. But it also gives room for the development of other faculties for those who choose not to attend college immediately after they graduate high school. It also has significantly improved the abilities of NBA teams and executives to make informed drafting decisions when evaluating the players. These educated decisions allow them to put a better rounded, mature team on the court for paying fans to watch, which has aided the game in evolving into the giant it is today. But if teams what to play the guessing game when drafting from high schools and hope that they get another Lebron James instead of waiting and watching the player develop to choose the best. It is their prerogative because they are the ones signing the guaranteed contacts.
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