If David Stern and the rest of the NBA Executives did not have a good enough reason to scrap the league’s one-year-out-of-high school requirement thus far, which I would heavily debate, the impetus for change is now right in front of our eyes. If the NBA does not budge on its solid stance, then there will be some hefty consequences for American basketball. It is all because of the intelligent business decision being made by a man named Brandon Jennings.
Much like O.J. Mayo, Michael Beasley, and Derrick Rose, Brandon Jennings thinks the one-and-done rule is ridiculous. Brandon was born on September 23, 1989 in Compton, CA and went to Oak Hill Academy (the same high school as Carmelo Anthony and many other basketball studs). Jennings is officially committed to play his Freshman year at Arizona, but none of that matters if he follows through on his new alternative plan. Instead of playing a year for free in the states, which he is not even guaranteed at this point due to eligibility issues surrounding his SAT scores, Jennings is planning on traveling to Europe to play for at least a year and get a nice salary while many of his colleagues are playing in a league where educational institutions benefit off of their skill.
Can you blame the kid? I agree with Paola Boivin of The Arizona Republic,
If the league really wants to help, stop preventing players from earning a paycheck. Instead, it should do a better job monitoring the agents it licenses to represent players and be more aggressive in the role of helping police youth basketball.
Patrol the handlers, monitor the runners, follow the AAU coaches, and guide the agents. If the NCAA and NBA pooled both organization’s resources together to combat the problems that are brewing under the surface instead of going after a stupid age limit, then progress may be made. Stop feeding us this nonsense that there is a difference between an 18-year-old and a 19-year-old. Both of them can fight in the military, both of them should be able to play professional basketball and make a living for themselves.
Someone needs to prod NBA executives to wake up and realize that they have a very strong product that is not worth jeopardizing in any way. Also, shoot them a copy of Michael McCann’s law review article from 2004, titled, Illegal Defense: The Irrational Economics of Banning High School Players from the NBA Draft.
The NBA’s economic system…provides unambiguous incentives for premiere high school players to seek entrance into the NBA as soon as possible. In turn, since those players are often the most talented, they tend to develop at a uniquely accelerated rate, and thus their earlier arrival and longer stay ultimately benefits the NBA. At the same time, those high school players better off attending college tend to do so because of contrasting incentives generated by this same economic system. In short, high school players have proven to be the best group of players entering the NBA because the NBA’s economic system dictates that very outcome.
A win-win situation? We definitely don’t want that. The NBA would prefer you to go to Europe instead, Brandon.