- Video of Wilt Chamberlain at 17 years old!
- Damon Agnos argues that college players should make the jump as soon as they become a "consensus first-round pick" by pointing out that seriously injured NBA players are collecting enormous paychecks while seriously injured college players may never make it.
Let me take this moment to editorialize about the NBA's age limit. I think it stinks and should be repealed. It's unfairly discriminatory against kids who are ready for the league and is probably bad for the NBA as well. Why should the next Kobe Bryant or LeBron James have to play in college for a year, with no salary or endorsements and no guarantee of either if they get injured? Basically, the age limit allows the NBA to outsource their coaching of 17-year-olds to college coaches at no cost. The NBA benefits from this in those (frequent) circumstances when kids are drafted on potential but need a year to develop. The colleges obviously benefit. NCAA basketball fans benefit. Television networks benefit. Everybody benefits but the kid.
Don't talk to me about how important college is, either. If you feel that way, convince the NCAA to let NBA teams draft young players and give them guaranteed contracts while still allowing them to play in college. Convince them to allow college players to receive endorsement money. It's unconscionable to let these often impoverished kids risk their entire careers for no money and no guarantees.
Besides, some of those kids have no real business even going to college. Jason Kidd, for example, is an amazing basketball player, but had to take the SATs four times to meet the NCAA minimum combined score of (if I recall correctly) 700. And he went to Berkeley. It's not like these guys are necessarily learning anything (although some do.) The whole system is a scam.
The D-League is a step in the right direction, I suppose. But an average salary of $35,000 is a far cry from the two-year, $1 million plus guaranteed contract some of those same players would get if they were allowed to enter the NBA draft.