NYTimes OpEd: Abolish the N.B.A. Age Limit


#1

Bring Back Basketball’s Little Big Men
NYTimes
October 27, 2009
Op-Ed Contributor
By BUZZ BISSINGER


#2

I wish the NBA and NCAA would use the same rule as footbaseball. Let them turn pro right out of high school, but if they go to college they aren’t eligible for drafting again until after their sophmore year.

*edit to correct football to baseball. I must have football on the brain after whooping UM.


#3

I think this would hold the most Legal weight as well. Hard to legally deny a kid an opportunity if he thinks he’s ready, but if you go the college route you have to make some level of commitment to it.


#4

You mean baseball, but I’d agree.

At the same time, I think anyone going pro early should be required to have some sort of “life in basketball” relevant education. There should be some sort of program that everyone has to pass before they’re allowed to enter the draft. A course on business, finance, economics, public speaking and all other things that someone coming out of high school likely doesn’t yet have experience in that they’ll need a lot of experience in really fast if they’re going to survive on the road in the NBA.


#5
[quote="JakkL, post:2, topic:149"]I wish the NBA and NCAA would use the same rule as football. Let them turn pro right out of high school, but if they go to college they aren't eligible for drafting again until after their sophmore year.[/quote]

You mean baseball, but I’d agree.

At the same time, I think anyone going pro early should be required to have some sort of “life in basketball” relevant education. There should be some sort of program that everyone has to pass before they’re allowed to enter the draft. A course on business, finance, economics, public speaking and all other things that someone coming out of high school likely doesn’t yet have experience in that they’ll need a lot of experience in really fast if they’re going to survive on the road in the NBA.

This should be standard for every kid coming out of high school - but unfortunately it’s not. If I knew out of high school what I know now out of college (but note: not because of what college taught me, just life in college) I probably never would’ve attended college the way i did - or at least, i would’ve made vastly different choices concerning it.

A high school education these days is seriously lacking in basic life skills like this.


#6

There’s really a lot going on here. I never considered how bad it must’ve been to have agents/coaches, etc., hanging out in HS gyms. Moving it to age 20 would be interesting. Players going to college would have to go as students for 3 semesters, so you’d avoid Knight’s valid criticism. You might get Europe to grow in stature. Still, seems to be restraint of trade. This could be a Supreme Court issue, IMO.

Not sure how I feel about this issue, but age 20 might work. Amazing that 60% of NBA players go broke. The LA Lakers have the 15th team median salary at $3.1 million(pretty low considering they have Kobe, Gasol, Odom), but still, the 15th team median salary in '01/02 was $2.269 million. Amazing that so many are broke. These kids need solid financial caretakers who monitor their spending.

Some years ago, a client of my brother’s was in a Mercedes dealer, in Florida I think. In walks a major NBA star with an entourage. He starts talking with a salesman and suggests the salesman calls his banker/advisor, cause he wants to buy the showroom Mercedes, and his banker will work it out. The salesman gets off the phone, talks to the player quietly, then tells my brother’s client a few minutes later that the banker said, “in no way is he buying a car. He can’t pay for it, he has no money” and some other things. Not going to disclose his name, but he retired 20 yrs. ago, scored 20,000 points and made over $20 million in 15 year career. And he was broke shortly after he finished playing. These guys need help, but nobody cares… and doubt they’d listen anyway.


#7

Disagree with any limit. A 18 year can be trusted in war but NOT trusted to earn 3.1 Million a year. Who cares if he blows the money. It’s his money. Many people in many occupations blow money then get in hopeless debt. Do we stop Miley Cyrus from earning millions? Oh, I forgot Miley is white.
Everybody has to get real. The age limits set by the pro leagues are not legal. 18 is 18. Oh yeah, some courts have ruled against this. well…what does that say about these courts?


#8

[quote=“tundra, post:7, topic:149”]Disagree with any limit. A 18 year can be trusted in war but NOT trusted to earn 3.1 Million a year. Who cares if he blows the money. It’s his money. Many people in many occupations blow money then get in hopeless debt. Do we stop Miley Cyrus from earning millions? Oh, I forgot Miley is white.
Everybody has to get real. The age limits set by the pro leagues are not legal. 18 is 18. Oh yeah, some courts have ruled against this. well…what does that say about these courts? [/quote]

I agree with your sentiment, but I believe the age limit is a collective bargaining agreement and legal because of it.

I also thing that there is, if anything, an inverse correlation between the amount of faith we have in an 18 year old’s maturity and decision making and our judgment about their suitability for war.

I think it would be tough for anyone that age to handle that kind of money. I think the same thing happens in the NFL and in baseball.


#9

Being black has never stopped other teens from going pro in the entertainment industry.

One difference with the military is that you don’t have a heck of a lot of freewill when you’re enlisted and their rules, regs and punishment tend to keep a tighter ship than the civilian world.

I agree, that athletes will blow a lot of money, just like anyone else. However, I believe that pro teams and leagues ought to do a better job of trying to educate their players in regards to finances. You’re never going to get all of them to use their money wisely, but they should try to better their numbers.


#10

I have no problem with pro teams educating
their employees in money management . Good idea. Where I draw the line is when people say we should not allow some one from being employed (even if the biggest and most profitable business in the industry wants to employee him) because he has to go to college or other book learning program.

To prove that being foolish in money matters is
NOT limited to young world class basketball players I would offer up a couple of my relatives. Each have filed bankruptcy more than 4 times in their lifetime.


#11

The 18 yr old soldier receives several months of training before going to war.

The 18 yr old NBA draft pick gets no training at all.


#12

[quote=“tundra, post:7, topic:149”]Disagree with any limit. A 18 year can be trusted in war but NOT trusted to earn 3.1 Million a year. Who cares if he blows the money. It’s his money. Many people in many occupations blow money then get in hopeless debt. Do we stop Miley Cyrus from earning millions? Oh, I forgot Miley is white.
Everybody has to get real. The age limits set by the pro leagues are not legal. 18 is 18. Oh yeah, some courts have ruled against this. well…what does that say about these courts? [/quote]

I don’t believe they’re legal either. But it seems that you have to protect these kids from agents hanging around HS gyms like pimps or drug dealers. Not sure what the answer is. 18 is tough to argue with as a legal age. It did seem to work better before. It’s corrupted the college game using the 19 age limit.


#13

[quote=“Tom, post:11, topic:149”]The 18 yr old soldier receives several months of training before going to war.

The 18 yr old NBA draft pick gets no training at all.[/quote]

Give me a break. His entire life is training to dribble a basketball. The NBA practices every day. Then has a "Training Camp."
Every practice is training. And…the NBA does give training. It does provide counseling for money, drugs, fame etc etc

Tom, let me tell you about a neighbor of mine. Billy Bubba. 18 year old, good kid (when he is not drunk.) Anyway, Billy B. ended his HS career without
a diploma. You see, Billy Bubba is as “dumb as a rock” in book learning. BUT he is a good mechanic. so Joe down the old body shop hires Billy Bubba. Billy works hard. Works a little O.T. Gets his first paycheck. Well the first thing old Billy Bubba does is go out and buy a new pick-up truck on credit. Then drives to the local bar and blows his pay check on booze (BB gets served because he looks older) and shooting pool. Was BB being wise with his money. Heck no! But this is a free county. He had honest employment. He worked to earn a paycheck. The money was his… and Joe the guy who owns the Body Shop didn’t really give BB much financial training.
18 is 18 is 18.
What’s a better system. Should Joe at the Body Shop had made Billy Bubba go to a Prep School at $30,000 a year to get a diploma.
Then get 801 on his SAT score before he hired BB as a mechanic? Maybe make him go to a year of college?


#14
[quote="Tom, post:11, topic:149"]The 18 yr old soldier receives several months of training before going to war.

The 18 yr old NBA draft pick gets no training at all.[/quote]

Give me a break. His entire life is training to dribble a basketball. The NBA practices every day. Then has a "Training Camp."
Every practice is training. And…the NBA does give training. It does provide counseling for money, drugs, fame etc etc

Tom, let me tell you about a neighbor of mine. Billy Bubba. 18 year old, good kid (when he is not drunk.) Anyway, Billy B. ended his HS career without
a diploma. You see, Billy Bubba is as “dumb as a rock” in book learning. BUT he is a good mechanic. so Joe down the old body shop hires Billy Bubba. Billy works hard. Works a little O.T. Gets his first paycheck. Well the first thing old Billy Bubba does is go out and buy a new pick-up truck on credit. Then drives to the local bar and blows his pay check on booze (BB gets served because he looks older) and shooting pool. Was BB being wise with his money. Heck no! But this is a free county. He had honest employment. He worked to earn a paycheck. The money was his… and Joe the guy who owns the Body Shop didn’t really give BB much financial training.
18 is 18 is 18.
What’s a better system. Should Joe at the Body Shop had made Billy Bubba go to a Prep School at $30,000 a year to get a diploma.
Then get 801 on his SAT score before he hired BB as a mechanic? Maybe make him go to a year of college?

All that off the court “training” NBA players get sure does pay off in the headlines every other day!


#15
[quote="Tom, post:11, topic:149"]The 18 yr old soldier receives several months of training before going to war.

The 18 yr old NBA draft pick gets no training at all.[/quote]

Give me a break. His entire life is training to dribble a basketball. The NBA practices every day. Then has a "Training Camp."
Every practice is training. And…the NBA does give training. It does provide counseling for money, drugs, fame etc etc

Tom, let me tell you about a neighbor of mine. Billy Bubba. 18 year old, good kid (when he is not drunk.) Anyway, Billy B. ended his HS career without
a diploma. You see, Billy Bubba is as “dumb as a rock” in book learning. BUT he is a good mechanic. so Joe down the old body shop hires Billy Bubba. Billy works hard. Works a little O.T. Gets his first paycheck. Well the first thing old Billy Bubba does is go out and buy a new pick-up truck on credit. Then drives to the local bar and blows his pay check on booze (BB gets served because he looks older) and shooting pool. Was BB being wise with his money. Heck no! But this is a free county. He had honest employment. He worked to earn a paycheck. The money was his… and Joe the guy who owns the Body Shop didn’t really give BB much financial training.
18 is 18 is 18.
What’s a better system. Should Joe at the Body Shop had made Billy Bubba go to a Prep School at $30,000 a year to get a diploma.
Then get 801 on his SAT score before he hired BB as a mechanic? Maybe make him go to a year of college?

All that off the court “training” NBA players get sure does pay off in the headlines every other day!


AND Lawyers, Politicians and Money Mangers don’t make the headlines also, huh.

#16

The age limit wouldn’t have done Antoine Walker any good:

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/1851241,antoine-walker-nba-broke-28.article

I don’t think they need an age limit. I just think they should put the decision to the teams and not the kids - meaning that kids shouldn’t have to give up their college eligibilty by declaring for the draft out of high school. If a team drafts a kid, the kid can decide if he wants the check or the education. If he’s not drafted, he can go to school.


#17

John Gasaway, the former Big Ten Wonk, makes some valid points in this sometimes rambling commentary on the NY Times article and the one-and-done rule in general.


#18

[quote=“mjg, post:16, topic:149”]The age limit wouldn’t have done Antoine Walker any good:

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/1851241,antoine-walker-nba-broke-28.article

I don’t think they need an age limit. I just think they should put the decision to the teams and not the kids - meaning that kids shouldn’t have to give up their college eligibilty by declaring for the draft out of high school. If a team drafts a kid, the kid can decide if he wants the check or the education. If he’s not drafted, he can go to school.[/quote]

College (UK) didn’t help Walker manage money!
But great post mjg! The situation needs some “common sense.” I agree kids should be able to be drafted THEN make a choice. That’s the way it is in baseball. And what’s the big deal about having an “agent.” Everybody needs advisers, lawyers at times. As long has the kid does not receive money for playing he should be able to play in college if he chooses.


#19
[quote="mjg, post:16, topic:149"]The age limit wouldn't have done Antoine Walker any good:

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/1851241,antoine-walker-nba-broke-28.article

I don’t think they need an age limit. I just think they should put the decision to the teams and not the kids - meaning that kids shouldn’t have to give up their college eligibilty by declaring for the draft out of high school. If a team drafts a kid, the kid can decide if he wants the check or the education. If he’s not drafted, he can go to school.[/quote]

College (UK) didn’t help Walker manage money!
But great post mjg! The situation needs some “common sense.” I agree kids should be able to be drafted THEN make a choice. That’s the way it is in baseball. And what’s the big deal about having an “agent.” Everybody needs advisers, lawyers at times. As long has the kid does not receive money for playing he should be able to play in college if he chooses.

Exactly. As long as the agent is getting paid by the player, and not the other way around, what’s the big deal?


#20
[quote="mjg, post:16, topic:149"]The age limit wouldn't have done Antoine Walker any good:

http://www.suntimes.com/sports/1851241,antoine-walker-nba-broke-28.article

I don’t think they need an age limit. I just think they should put the decision to the teams and not the kids - meaning that kids shouldn’t have to give up their college eligibilty by declaring for the draft out of high school. If a team drafts a kid, the kid can decide if he wants the check or the education. If he’s not drafted, he can go to school.[/quote]

College (UK) didn’t help Walker manage money!
But great post mjg! The situation needs some “common sense.” I agree kids should be able to be drafted THEN make a choice. That’s the way it is in baseball. And what’s the big deal about having an “agent.” Everybody needs advisers, lawyers at times. As long has the kid does not receive money for playing he should be able to play in college if he chooses.

Exactly. As long as the agent is getting paid by the player, and not the other way around, what’s the big deal?

The NCAA lets a player hire a lawyer to provide advice on whether they should enter the draft or not but does not allow that lawyer to engage in contract negotiations