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Friday, October 14, 2005

Sports Section

Some would argue that the NBA's policy of preventing players from entering the league until they turn 19 is patently racist. Others would say that it is a Stockton-esque assist to college recruiting. Me, I don't know, but I do know that Michelle Wie - age 15 - is being greeted as a conquering hero during her professional debut. Is there something different abut Wie that makes it OK for her to turn pro and receive millions of dollars in earnings and endorsements that does not apply to young basketball players? She's 6'0" at the age of 15 so she has phenomenal physical talent, and she has the discipline and concentration to make puts, so she's qualified to play on the tour. Shouldn't that apply to NBA players like it applies to MLB players and NHL players? And let's not even get into the NFL. Yes, it's a contact sport, but so is hockey and yet hockey players can join their league at age 18. Then too, the NHL doesn't have a free farm system that generates millions of dollars from free labor - paying a $10,000 scholarship for labor that would fetch $7,000,000 in the open market is indeed free labor.

Racism? You be the judge.

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 9:00 AM

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I welcome the NBA's age limit and say the age could even be raised to 20 or 21. The quality of the NBA has gone down as younger and younger players focus on their athleticism instead of skills. Most young players don't make an impact until they get into their 20's anyway after several years of mediocrity. If everyone could do what Kevin Garnett and Kobi Bryant did, those two players wouldn't be very special. (And Kobi wasn't really that good until Phil Jackson came to the Lakers).

So I'm glad there's an age limit. Kids should be encouraged to go to college where a hustle play still means something.

Posted by Blogger AAFD @ Friday, October 14, 2005 10:26:00 AM #
 

I have wondered about the benefit to the NBA, as well. If the NBA is a business, how does it benefit them to eliminate the likes of Kobe, KG, and LeBron? I don't see it.

In all of this, what's best for the athletes? No one should be forced to "work" for free when there are people willing to pay big bucks for your services. I hope as many of these young folks as possible go to Europe and get paid, rather than make money for colleges where they'll receive little, if any, benefit.

Posted by Blogger Jeremy @ Friday, October 14, 2005 1:18:00 PM #
 

The benefit to the NBA is high overall quality of play. For every KG and LeBron there are thousands are young black boys all across this country think they're going to be next. And it's just not true and it's sad. We need to refocus our priorities.

The benefit to the athelete should be an all-expenses paid education. I know that's not the reality and I have beef with the NCAA for that-college sports needs a refocusing of priorities. But to just herd kids from junior to high to the NBA without developing the mind is wrong when it's plain fact that only sliver of them will even smell the NBA is wrong. It's wrong and it's not fair to the kids.

Posted by Blogger AAFD @ Friday, October 14, 2005 1:53:00 PM #
 

High School graduates/drop outs have nothing to do with the level of play in the NBA - the NBA's expansion has done that, much the same way that MLB expansion has diluted the quality of Big League pitching. After all, if the kids couldn't play then they wouldn't be drafted, but they are indeed being drafted ahead of many players who went through the NBA development league, aka the NCAA. When you are earning millions in salary and bonuses then you can pay for your own college tuition - the problem here isn't the NBA accepting high school graduates, the problem is parents who have not instilled a love for education in their children. And if we're truthful about the whole thing, many athletes aren't exactly focused on scholarship - they do just enough to keep themselves eligible to play ball, oftentimes with a gentleman's assist. Those who actually take advantage of their athletic scholarship and work on getting an education would do the same thing on their own dime if they were earning millions instead of being on the meal plan, so I'm just saying that we should just be honest about this whole deal - either pay college players market value for their talents or let them go directly into the NBA if they have the skills to do so.

And it does take a village to instill the academic mindset, so that will also fall on the rest of us to help counter the lottery mentality - we all have a lot of work ahead of us.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Saturday, October 15, 2005 5:52:00 AM #
 
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