The NBA today does not allow high school players to make the jump to the professional level after receiving their diploma. Some people agree with this new policy and others don’t as we would have not been able to witness some the NBA’s greatest players on the highest level like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Kevin Garnett. Even though LeBron James seems on the verge of winning an NBA title, the two other of the players mentioned have five NBA titles between them and are without a doubt future Hall of Famers.
Obviously, it took a while for Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett to actually win that elusive NBA title, more so KG than Kobe, but they have now officially left their mark on the NBA and will always be remembered as NBA champions.
Even though all three of these players have been labeled immature at one time or another in their NBA career, there’s no doubting their greatness of the basketball floor and the importance of them playing in this league for as long as they have.
Despite these three players being the exception to the rule when people talk about players being too young coming into the league, there are quite a few players that have come in just after high school has been nothing but disappointment.
Recently, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has said that he believes the NBA is should chance the age limit to 21. In some ways this is true as at 21 you’re still young but you have had time to mature and adjust to what will be a career of possibly 10 to 15 years in the league.
The problem is that you wouldn’t have players like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James or Kevin Garnett, but they would definitely be more mature and more NBA ready and able to handle the grueling 82 game season and possible postseason. Not only will it make them feel more as if they are starting a career, but they might be able to stay out of trouble, manage money much better and be all around better people and role models for their fans.
Obviously, this is a bit of a drastic rule and will almost certainly not be considered for the future, but it is something to think about and something that might be in the back of NBA commissioner David Stern’s mind moving forward.
The one organization that would definitely love to see this happen is the NCAA and all the college basketball programs around the country. For if the required age for the NBA was 21, college programs like Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky and countless others would be able to keep primetime players like John Wall for much longer.
Another thing that might happen in the wake of being 21 years or older to play in the NBA is the international game would become much more involved with American players. Last season Brandon Jennings went to Italy to play before he could become it eligible to be drafted to an NBA team. This would almost certainly become something much more common if the minimum wage was 21.