Who sets these rules? I mean, you can go into the military when you’re 18, but can’t drink (legally) until you’re 21. You don’t have to go to school any more after 16, but you’re still considered a minor in terms of statutory situations… And let’s not even talk about 30 and over clubs (LOL!).
So, why are there age rules for the NBA (There are for other sports, too, but my story is about basketball so go along with me…)? For obvious reasons (or maybe not that obvious), the NBA made a change some time back determining 19 as the entry age before declaring for the draft. Before that time, high schoolers could completely forgo college and head straight into the League (Sports Interruption: Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James became stars straight out of high school.). And we’re back… The thing is, some felt like the transition (mentally and physically) was too abrupt for young people to adjust to and remedied that at least 1 year of college would help ease the huge transition.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a 6-time MVP, 19-time All-Star selection, and in the ’80s helped Magic Johnson lead the L.A. Lakers to 5 NBA titles, says the NBA should raise its minimum age for entry into the League to 21. So uh… I’m thinking with those types of numbers somebody might want to take a listen to the living legend, huh? He feels like there’s a disturbing sense of entitlement among many of today’s young pros and all they’re concerned with is “where’s my money”, but have no regard for the game or the fundamentals. He continues with the substantial argument that they’re depriving themselves of the emotional and physical maturity necessary to meet on- and off-the-court challenges. Check out this quote from Abdul-Jabbar talking about his UCLA coach:
“He said if I let my intellectual life suffer because I was so into being an athlete that I would be less than I could be. I would tell all students to pursue your dreams but don’t let your education suffer.”
Wasn’t that deep (Crack up!)… Naw, it was really was (Don’t you feel all inspired?). You know, I’m just glad someone cares. I’m talking about someone who really knows what its all about and isn’t just talking from a turned-up-nose point of view. When I started this post, I didn’t know I would take this position on the subject, but I like the fact that there’s a reason behind his stance… that it’s not just some rhetoric for a political position or something. He wants to see the game back to how it used to be… fundamentals and gratitude for the opportunity. I can dig that… I still have issues with the 30 and over clubs (I don’t want to see a 65-year-old dancing to Prince. Eek.)!