Kobe Bryant never played a college basketball game.
Kevin Garnett never attended a college class.
LeBron James never even considered going the college route.
Prior to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, high school players were allowed the option of declaring for the NBA instead of playing college basketball. As a result, many of the best regarded teenagers in the sport chose the big money instead of the traditional progression represented by walking on a college campus. It is undeniable that many of those players made perfectly rational decisions. Just as easily as one can chastise the Gerald Green’s and Ndudi Ebi’s for wasting their potential by getting under the big lights too early, someone can defend them by saying they got paid when they could just have easily flamed out as NCAA indentured servants.
All of that discussion is completely and totally irrelevant.
Basketball players will generally all argue that there should be no age restriction—but even then they aren’t being totally forthcoming. It is doubtful anyone is truly suggesting that that the NBA transition to a European-style philosophy of allowing youth players to sign with teams. (For instance, Ricky Rubio signed with DKV Joventut when he was 14 years old.) What they really mean is that they want to return to the old status quo that said players could enter the draft when they had exhausted their high school eligibility. They only take issue that the NBA says they have to go to college first. Keep Reading…