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An Open Letter to NBA Players

To All NBA Players,NBA commissioner Adam Silver must be stopped.

To All NBA Players,

NBA commissioner Adam Silver must be stopped.

His idea to increase the age for draft eligibility is just plain wrong.

Currently, a player must be 19 or one year removed from his high school graduating class to enter the draft.


Now, Silver wants to raise the age limit to 20.


In no other field would you stop a prodigy. Kids have played Carnegie Hall, graduated college at 10 and become a medical doctor at 17.

Yet, the NBA wants to stunt the growth of talented young men. Shame on Silver.

Sadly, the players and its union sold out new players when they agreed to the 19 year old rule.


Now, Silver wants you to put another knife in the backs of NBA hopefuls. Worse, for no legitimate reason.

Honestly, it's hard to look at the rules with age limits in the NBA and NFL and not think race has something to do with it.


After all, both leagues are majority black players. Interestingly, the NBA was also the first league with a salary cap and the NFL quickly followed.

In all other sports, they celebrate a prodigy, a young person who is good enough to play at a high level at a young age.

Read and learn.

The youngest MLB player was Joe Nuxhall. He pitched for the Cincinnati Reds at age 15 in 1944.

 

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NHL goalie Dominik Hasek turned pro at age 16 in his native Czechoslovakia. Many break into the NHL at the ripe age of 18.



 

In tennis, Michael Chang was the youngest male player to win a Grand Slam singles title. He was 17 when he won the French Open in 1989.


 

Just two years ago, Andy Zhang, at 14, became the youngest golfer to compete in the U.S. Open.

 

So stop the noise about age in sports. It's about ability. Period.

Moses Malone, Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James all excelled in the pros without playing a minute of college basketball.

Have some failed? Sure. But there have been more four-year college players who have failed at being stars on the next level.


Worse, many put the blame on the undergrads for chasing their dreams. Again, total nonsense.

The onus is on the owners and team general managers, not the underclassmen.

You keep hearing that they aren't ready for the NBA. If they aren't, they shouldn't be drafted. It's so simple. Somehow, however, they keep getting drafted.

It's because they are talented, no other reason.


"Ideally we want our teams in a position to have more information about these young men before they come into the league and from a developmental standpoint we would like them to have more opportunity for them to develop before they come into the league," Silver to reporters.


Sounds good.

But it's a con job.

Silver really meant to say that he (and the NCAA) is trying to hold players back so they can play for free in college rather than get paid on the professional level for their special talent.

That's what this is all about, not the players being more developed as players or getting a degree.

On one hand, they try to tell the one-and-done players they aren't ready for the NBA. But when the experts put together a draft list, it's filled with players who played just one season and not those players who played all four years.



It's hypocritical.

Playing all four years doesn't mean you're a good player or ensure success on the next level. It's a myth.


Silver told reporters that he doesn't think his new plan is going to happen in the 2015 draft.

But Silver does believe this rule change could happen by simply amending the current collective bargaining agreement and won't have to wait until the current CBA expires.

Sure, the players' union currently doesn't have a boss. They are still looking for someone to replace the ousted Billy Hunter.



Even so, players need to understand the issue at hand and let that guy know they aren't with this idea to deny employment strictly based on age, not ability.

It's wrong.

Wake up NBA players.

Rob Parker is a columnist for The Shadow League. He is also an analyst for Fox Sports 1 in Los Angeles. He co-hosts The Odd Couple on Fox Sports Radio and is also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California.