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Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 9:40 am  |  56 responses

David Stern Wants to Raise the NBA’s Age Limit By a Year to 20


NBA Commissioner David Stern is once again pushing for the League to raise its age limit from 19 to 20, but he knows it won’t be an easy sell. From Reuters: “The NBA currently mandates players must be 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft and at least one year removed from the graduation of their high school class. Stern pointed out that the so-called ‘one-and-done’ rule was an NBA-driven improvement from the days when high school standouts were drafted directly into the NBA, and that he would like to see the requirement taken further. ‘We have a committee that we’ve agreed to with the Players’ Association. We will be looking at the entire situation and probably with the (National Collegiate Athletic Association) input as well,’ Stern said. ‘We would love to add a year, but it’s not something that the Players Association has been willing to agree to.’”

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  • http://nba.com GP23

    Don’t agree with this at all. If you are good enough to play in the NBA straight from High School, then you should be allowed (have the freedom of choice) to enter the draft. After all, this is the ‘Land of the Free.’

  • Sizzle

    I think it’s fine as it is now. The main thing the rule is there for is to eliminate the duds trying to go from HS to Pro (which is already non-existent in the current rule).

  • petro3

    The best 18 year olds will go to Europe to make money and gain experience and the other ones will go to college.

  • Justin G.

    I kind of agree with this actually. I know there are going to be those that say they are hindering someone’s right to earn money for their families and all that, but most players are not mentally or physically ready for the rigors of the NBA. Give them an extra year of college to mature their games and themselves, and if they want to start earning they can play in other pro leagues that allow them to make some cash. It’s not NBA money but it isn’t bad either.

  • T. Brown

    If this is a truly capitalistic society, individuals must have the right to succeed or fail. People who advocated for the rule that currently stands pointed to the players who entered the draft out of high schoolm that were not good enough. The turh is, the player who is good enough to play in the NBA out of high school is rare, but that player should not be punished because others have failed. Exceptional people should be allowed to be exceptional Rules should not stand in the way.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Jahmai

    I agree with this, imo you let these guys have the oppertunity to get drafted out of HS or let em stay awhile. It never hurt the NFL, look how polished these players come out of college and atleast the NCAA game will improve, imagine a 2nd year KD, a 2nd year Rose, a 2nd year Beasley, a 2nd year Anthony Davis, imagine LEBRON after 2 years of collegiate ball! Yes, some guys are ready early but they can only benefit from the extra years.

  • http://slamonline.com Polow da Jon

    Let them go from high school or stay two years in school. No one is forcing these teams to draft these high school players who never pan out(Ndubi Ebi or Robert Swift) or are at best marginal players (Amir Johnson or Andre Blatche). Maybe these owners should take some responsibility and due their due diligence in scouting these players better. If they stopped drafting them, then the flow of kids would drindle to almost nothing. It would take a few years of consistently falling to the 2nd round or going undrafted, but that would certainly fix it. No one is guaranteed a spot in the NBA and just because you were the best high school player in the nation doesnt mean you are entitled to a multi-million dollar career. If you’re good enough, your talent and work ethic will get you there.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    I don’t get it. If Stern’s argument is that players aren’t ready from a physical/mental stand point, then why have high school/1-and-done players been dominating dominating this league for the last 12-15 years. The problem isn’t the age limit, it’s the mixed messages that young players receive. The best of the best 19 year olds get drafted in the lottery, and even the ones who MAY be able to contribute 3 years down the line some how sneak into the second round. It takes 2 to tango, these teenagers wouldn’t be declaring if there weren’t any takers . . .

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    So if Greg Oden and Shaun Livingston blow their knees out and TJ Ford injures his spine during their sophmore seasons, will teams that would have drafted them in the top 10 as freshmen still draft them as damaged goods because it’s the “right thing to do”? Will they still make the millions that they could have made as 18-19 year olds?! This is just another way to prtect owners/GMs from themselves!

  • bigA

    I think that is a good idea. Also I think those great college players should get a little money.
    @gp23 There is the danger that players are drafted on potential instead of skill if they are very young.

  • Heals

    Baseball players, golfers and tennis players are turning pro even earlier, but the media/public/universities don’t care. Young men shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to earn $$$ based on someone else’s inability to determine their talent level/potential at a particular age…

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    Here’s an idea. David Stern, if your really concerned with the players education then you should at least require all players to be 4 years removed from high school. That way, they actually would have time to get their degree and graduate. Of course, you’ll never do that because it would hurt your product and money is what the age limit rules are all about anyway. David Stern loves the NCAA, and he loves his players playing college basketball at least one or two years, regardless if they are ready for the NBA. Guess why? FREE MARKETING! This way when a player joins the league, he comes with a built in fan base, regardless of who drafts him. For example, I’m a huge Texas Longhorns fan. I will always be a Kevin Durant fan because of this. When I was recently in Austin I saw a ridiculous amount of KD Thunder jersey’s on kids there. I promise you, had KD not gone to UT, most of them would be rocking something completely different in a state that already has three other NBA franchises. Do I think these young men should be forced to play college ball for four years? Hell no. The whole age limit rule, in my eyes, is unconstitutional. I’m just saying don’t ever believe the lie that David Stern is doing this for the benefit of these young players because, like everything with David Stern, it’s all about the money.

  • FnF

    They should allow ALL high schoolers to make the jump. It is on the GM to decide if a player is ready for the NBA. No one was forced into drafting Lebron, Dwight, Livingston, Diop, Telfair, Josh Smith, Amare, Curry, or anyone else that made the jump. Teams make a conscious decision to draft a player, if that player doesn’t pan out, that is the risk you have to take. If you are risk adversed then there are hundreds of college seniors you can choose from. Just because a guy is declaring out of high school doesn’t mean he MUST be drafted. Remove the age limit and let the invisible hand do what it does.

  • VanCityVibe

    No, Mr. Stern it’s fine as it is now

  • FnF

    @Heals, I agree with your point, the only sports that have these strict rules are the ones that don’t generate huge TV rankings. All of a sudden, when the NCAA senses they are going to lose money to pro leagues they use the “This decision was made in the best interest of our student-athletes…” If the best athletes in that age range aren’t playing in college, what is the point of watching March Madness or the Bowl Series?

  • bigA

    @people who say to remove the agelimit
    I guess you mean they have to be removed from high school though, right? Because you are used to that.
    If you say no age limit we might end up with 8 ft. 15 year old no.1 picks
    ending up on NBA benches.

  • bike

    Stern’s biggest concern about HS to nba was always about keeping nba scouts away from HS b-ball scene. Most kids at that age don’t have access to the type of people that can objectively advise them and help them navigate the nba scout and GM waters. If a kid is good enough, he should be able to enter the draft if the nba would evaluate them responsibly–but they don’t. There is no way to protect an nba GM from themselves.

  • Sizzle

    I still don’t understand why to change the rule. The rule applies to what, maybe 8 or so players a year? (the so called “one and dones”). IMO, there shouldn’t be a rule. While I understand there are players out there that have made the leap from HS to the NBA and failed, they did so on their own terms. Stern you really want to do something smart, how about have all players have to pass a financial planning course on a yearly basis.

  • bike

    I’m surprised that no one recognizes this issue for exactly what it is: everyone is looking out for their own interests. Stern and the owners don’t give a damn about players’ educations or lives. They care about wasting money and draft picks on overhyped young duds. At the end of the day that’s what it comes down to. The players want the ability of any other athlete to turn pro out of high school so that they can make money as early as possible. The owners want longer looks at their future investments, so they want them in college for a couple of years and they don’t care if they’re depriving players of an opportunity to support their families.

  • angus

    your an adult at 18, you can join the army at 18, you finish high school at 18 and what is the point of school? To get a job an be successful in this world, if you can do that by joining the nba out of high school why shouldnt you be able to? this is one of the most eff’d up rules in all of sports, stern needs to stop robbing MEN of thier careers and livelihoods

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    bike is smart.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    I like Sizzle’s finacial planning course idea too.

  • http://nba.com GP23

    Ricky Rubio became a pro at 14 !.. Just sayin’

  • Rainman

    Think about it, guys like Kwame Brown, Gerald Wallace…they coulda made real noise in the league had they honed their skills in college. Instead they entered the league prematurely and never really panned out…

  • Top$helf

    Kids should be able to enter the draft straight out of high school but if they don’t hire an agent and don’t get drafted they should be able 2 enroll in college and play ball but if the player does decide to go to college they would have to stay for 2 years

  • MikeC.

    Stern can’t carry all the weight for the rule. The union has to agree. The union is going to look out for the best interests of current dues-paying members before they look out for HS kids. Stern may propose a rule, but the union must agree.

  • Fresh Boirdee

    I’m on both sides about this… I remember when kids were coming out of high school left and right and for a good stretch of time the NBA was a terrible product. It’s gotten better over the last few years, but it’s still not as competitive as it was in the 90′s. You have like 5 really great players, 20 good players, and a bunch of aight dudes (who are good enough to make it in the NBA) to feel roster spots. Defense is a lost art… zone in the NBA is joke. Players these days just don’t seem polished and their lack of knowledge of the game is awful.
    If you are really that good and money is an issue, play overseas or in the NBDL. But Let’s keep it 100, the majority of the One and done kids are African Americans from lower income households… they need the money. But money and no education and you end up like Antoine Walker.
    I really want young black kids to take advantage of college, it’s a great opportunity, but at the same time if you can get paid, get that money. The NBA is such a short experience for the majority, and after it is over you really need to have the knowledge to pursue something else. IDK…make sure somebody in your crew has a college degree.

  • MikeC.

    @Top$helf – I think that idea was proposed the last time they agreed on an age limit, but it ties up scholarship offers and NCAA teams can’t wait for kids to sit through the draft. Good idea though.

  • http://slamonline.com Brad Long

    @Rainman:You can say whatever you want about Kwame Brown, but the dudes stayed in the league for a decade, that’s not a bad run, and there is no way no matter where he went to college that he would be a better player than he is now. Gerald Wallace has had damn nice career if you ask me. Not everyone is going to be Kobe or LeBron.

  • Sizzle

    Co-Sign Brad, I wouldn’t put Gerald Wallace and Kwame’s in the same breath.

  • Sizzle

    *Careers

  • Top$helf

    Yeah I feel tht but the kids should pay a small penalty for not going straight to college so dont let them go to a high level program if they entered the draft and weren’t drafted make them go to a mid major or lower tier program that way u could spread the talent around college just a thought

  • 23

    how is stern being unfair? the nba is a business, and he wants his business to succeed like any other american business owner. he wants his product to be top notch. the nba is not the only company in america that wont hire a kid out of highschool.

  • learn about freedom

    This has nothing to do with freedom of choice. There isn’t going to be a law telling people they can’t goto the NBA. It would be an NBA policy. There are probably some good reasons for why Stern would suggest this. Probably something to do with money.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    the NBA wants the NCAA to build a product for them. It’s free marketing to have their new talent playing on someone else’s dime for a year or two. The players develop more in the NBA, which should be pretty obvious considering the NBA is a full-time job while college ball is you know, mixed with college and going to classes (at least for the 1st semester). THe longer players stay in the NCAA and gain popularity, the less the NBA has to do to build excitement about it’s incoming rookies. As Bike said, everyone is just looking out for their own best interests.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    In damn near every other sport, players are allowed to come out whenever they feel like (sometimes even from HS to the Pros) expect for Pro basketball and football. That is some bull….I think I know why that is. The majority of cats who play those two sports are black.

  • jay

    If they move it to 20 they need to pay the student-athletes at least minimum wage for practice and game hours.

  • FnF

    If the league doesn’t want to draft 1 and done players, they don’t have to. There doesn’t need to be a rule against decision making. If a franchise sucks at drafting players, remains futile, and continuously loses money, the league already has a solution for that. It is called contraction. This is a business, if an employee isn’t productive, you fire him. If Stern is worried about the profitability of 22 franchises in the red, start contracting teams. They’ll learn.

  • 23

    jay, student athletes are paid very well. if you dont believe me check out 1 students tuition/books/dorms/food expenses for 1 year. pretty good if you ask me. not to mention free nikes, and tutors on road trip games.

  • 23

    this rule would help ncaa athletics, and it would help the nba. it doesnt hurt anyone. just because your good at basketball it doesnt mean your entitled to anything. it takes hard work. no matter how “talented” or “gifted” a player is, all players have flaws. college is a great place to learn about life while they continue to grow. this is not about race, its not about stern trying to screw anyone. its about business. as good as lebron was at 18, he was not perfect. hell hes been in the league for almost a decade and he has become the most elite player in the game. yet he is far from perfect. so many kids feel like their owed someting, just because of what they see on tv. its sickening quite honestly. just keep working hard, nobody is taking away the nba from them, they just want them to be in the best position to succeed.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    it hurts the players that would get drafted out of high school that get a career ending injury in college and lose out on millions and millions of dollars. Basically it’s good for the business of the NBA and NCAA but it’s bad for the actual work force.

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    23, you’re joking, right? Considering how much money high profile D1 schools make off of their Football and Basketball programs, there’s no way anyone can argue that student athletes are compensated adequately. Also, how is forcing Lebron, Kobe, KD, KG, Melo into 2 years of school improving the product? So NBA journeymen like Eric Dampier and Anthony Carter can log more minutes??? Free Nikes? You think pros pay for their own shoes?!

  • Da-Meat-Hook

    Exactly nbk! Like my previous post said, what would have happened to Greg Oden, Shaun Livinston, and TJ Ford had they suffered their devastating injuries while they were still in school?? Would they still be compensated financially? This rule serves to preserve the best interest of the NBA and NCAA. These youngsters are just a commodity to them!

  • Jerome

    I don’t like one-and-done and have never liked HS to the L. The return$ on education are off the charts as far as sustained quality of life and decision making are concerned. As a parent I would rather my daughter or son finished school above earning millions. Not saying Owners, Stern or any of you care … just saying.

  • Jerome

    Plus, separating those that actually love the game (willing to work to improve daily) from those that just want to get paid would produce a much better product to market. Rivalries would be created, transfers would be big news and highschool kids would be allowed to be kids (instead of being put in the spotlight too early: LBJ, why do you think he can’t perform in the 4th?).

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Taylor, you can look at it as racist. It’s also ‘good’ business. You don’t invest in a product that isn’t guaranteed. That is how Stern views it. White, Black, Chinese, Argentinean, Spanish…. if your not being productive and making them money your a useless commodity. It’s gross to view humans that way, but business isn’t about manners or the good of the general people it’s about making money.

  • bike

    Really wish they would go for three-years removed from high school, like the nfl. I know folks will scream about the millions lost by players if they suffer a career ending injury but this is sports and injuries also end high school and college careers. Assuming Greg Oden’s latest setback is potentially career ending, he came out ahead while the Blazers lost big time. So who is more entitled to the benefit: the player or the nba?

  • shutup

    Brad said it first then bike and then NBK, you guys nailed it right on the head. The NCAA makes millions off of these kids and gives them crumbs. The players don’t see ish from their own jersey sales, or their likeness in video games. If they can play let them play and while were at it let grown men decide how they are going to dress

  • http://jsklff.com Jukai

    How’s this: a scaling monetary system depending on when you come into college from the pros (lottery or first round draft pick only, to protect the on-the-bucket seniors)
    -If you come into the league yer freshmen year, you can only get half of yer salary for your rookie contract
    -If you come into the league yer sophmore year, you can get your full rookie salary
    -If you come into the league yer junior+ year, you can get your full rookie salary plus some sort of monetary incentive or bonus.
    This makes it monetary beneficial for PLAYERS to stay in college so that they get more money in the end, and you might as well add some sort of tax/cap relief program on the owners side to give more incentive in drafting a junior instead of a freshmen.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Lake, who says that going to college for one or two years “guarantees” that the product will be good? How many players have gone to college for 4yrs and became busts? Too many to count.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    It doesn’t guarantee anything other than the ability to see the players living out their potential a bit longer. It’s not to say that you cannot draft a senior year bust, you can. But without a doubt you understand a players positives and negatives better than having not seen them for a extended period of time. It is better for the NBA to have players come in later after more experience. Still, I don’t know if I agree or like it.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    it’s actually proven that a basketball player is more likely to succeed as a professional the earlier they come out. With the guys coming out of high school having far and away the most success. A player staying in college longer only increases the likelyhood that that player will be a worse pro. Tim Duncan is the only 4 year college player to have a long successful NBA career. Brandon Roy would have been there too had he not broken down….had he come out sooner, he would probably be better off in terms of his financial life….so there’s that.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Tim Duncan is the only 4 year College Player to have a long successful NBA career in the last 15 years*

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Most players coming into the NBA probably aren’t good enough to enter the draft straight out of high school anyways… But most superstars are. In the past, most players to come out of high school were good enough to at least stay in the league; even Kwame Brown is still a serviceable big man. And for players whose skills are still raw, they can mold their skills D-League (while still making money). The way I see it, the college game is basically obsolete. If you’re a first round prospect, there’s no reason why superior coaching and better resources at the NBA level wouldn’t benefit you more than what you’d get at the college level.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    okay I retract my first sentence.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    lol okay I finally know what I was trying to say… I meant most players going into college aren’t going to make the NBA straight out of high school anyways. There… If anyone still cares.

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