Good Thing I’m 25

I can declare for the NBA without worrying about meeting the new age limit.

In case you haven’t heard, the NBA and the NBAPA have reached a new collective bargaining agreement. Among the terms included is a 19 year age limit.

I don’t get this. I don’t get it in football either, where it isn’t an age limit, but a class limit (you must be 2 removed from your high school graduating class).

The NBA and NFL drafts should be a market economy. If a kid is ready to play in the league, the teams will know it. Especially in the NBA, with a 2-round draft, many players go undrafted. With all the scouting and information available nowadays, with combines, camps and workouts, players, scouts, coaches and GM’s will know if a player is ready. If he is, he’ll be drafted. If he isn’t, he won’t be.

Was LeBron James not ready for the NBA because he 18 when he was drafted? Of course he was ready. He’s already being mentioned in MVP discussions, and is on the verge of dominating the game. Sure, he’ll get better. But would one year in Ohio State University have benefitted him in any substantial way? Of course not.

There is no rational reason for imposing an age limit. The only ones who benefit are college coaches, who don’t have to worry about wasting resources on recruiting a player who ultimately declares for the draft (see Duke and Coach K and Shaun Livingston). I’m pretty sure the league and players’ association aren’t around to protect Coach K’s interests (that’s what American Express is for).

So let’s look at what this really is. This is rich white men imposing their will about what they perceive is good for a bunch of young, black kids, whose experiences they can never share, and whose desire to skip college to make a living they can never understand (and they clearly don’t respect). And if you don’t think race is an issue, then I query, why does the age limitation apply only to American players? European (read: white) players can enter the league at 18. So, looking back to the 2003 draft: LeBron, bad; Darko, good. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

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