G-League’s New Rule Dooms Lavar Ball’s JBA League

The NBA jacked his idea and can assure that the checks won’t bounce.

The NBA’s G-League has effectively ended the one-and-done in college and LaVar Ball’s JBA pro league with one legislative swoop.

SportsCenter on Twitter

Breaking: Starting in the summer of 2019, the NBA’s G League will offer “Select Contracts” worth $125,000 to elite prospects who are at least 18 years old but not yet eligible for the NBA draft. https://t.co/aL6lOCYT3J

The NBA is showing the NCAA and LaVar Ball who their Daddy is by essentially directly challenging the NCAA’s monopoly on elite talent. Ball tried to circumvent the one-and-done rule by offering players that didn’t want to go to college checks to ball in his league.

“The JBA is all about giving players that aren’t cut out for college and going to class that have dreams of making it into the NBA,” Ball said back in July, “and giving them a shot to play professional basketball.”

It was a smack in the face of the NCAA and a challenge to the NBA’s ability to control the world’s top hoops talent right out of high school.

The NBA jacked his idea and can assure that the checks won’t bounce.

The NCAA’s strict rules regarding its student-athletes ability to make money outside of school have been under extreme fire over the past few years with scandals involving impermissible benefits bringing everything to a head. The NCAA has been accused of being predatorial; socially, racially and financially exploitative and their outdated philosophies and attempts to control every aspect of student-athletes’ lives is largely blamed for any financial scandalsthat have occurred. In fact, the NCAA’s exploitation of student-athletes is the subject of a LeBron James docuseries called “Shut Up and Dribble”

Shut Up and Dribble (2018) | LeBron James SHOWTIME Series

Shut Up and Dribble. Coming Soon to Showtime.

According to ESPN, the “new venture is an alternative to the one-and-done route for the best American basketball prospects.

The G League will target recent or would-be high school graduates who otherwise would have likely spent just one season playing college basketball, enticing them not only with a six-figure salary but also the opportunity to benefit from NBA infrastructure, as well as a bevy of off-court development programs “geared toward facilitating and accelerating their transition to the pro game,” league president Malcolm Turner told ESPN.

Without the restrictions of the NCAA’s amateurism rules, players will also be free to hire agents, profit off their likenesses and pursue marketing deals from sneaker companies and the like, which could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in endorsement opportunities to top prospects.”

When Michele Roberts was hired as executive director of the NBA Players Association back in 2014, she was very vocal about increasing player profits and eliminating the one-and-done rule which forced players to go to college for one season before entering the NBA Draft. Her focus was to eliminate the league age requirement or lower it to 18. Those issues would be sticking points in the next CBA negotiations in 2022.

NBA Braces For Age Minimum War In 2022 CBA Talks

Two weeks before Christmas – with the NBA rolling in a major rush of increased global interest, the allure of Super Teams and a windfall of TV money that has improved the fortunes of both owners and players- the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association reached a tentative seven-year deal on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Adam Silver hasn’t budged in his support of the 19-year-old eligibility requirement, but this current twist makes those negotiations less important as those qualified 18-year-olds can now go to the G-League, get paid, get some seasoning until they are age-eligible for the NBA.  It’s a win-win for all parties.

Criticisms aside, the NCAA’s student-athlete money machine continued to thrive despite a litany of lawsuits concerning its use of player likenesses and other issues. Serious flaws in the governing body’s structure and rules started to be addressed when the stuffing hit the fan following an FBI probe into rampant NCAA college basketball corruption. The party was over.

“Elite high school players with NBA prospects and no interest in a college degree should not be forced to attend college, often for less than a year,” commission chair Condoleezza Rice told The Associated Press. “One-and-done has to go, one way or another.”

Seven of the top 10 high school players in the 2019 ESPN 100 remain uncommitted to college programs, and the G League landing any of them could have huge ramifications — for future paths to the draft for star players, the popularity of the NBA’s development league and the college basketball talent pool.

The more immediate impact of this new implementation is that it could spell the end of the JBA.

LaVar changed the game in the way he challenged the NCAA and NBA, had his younger boys skip college and create their own brand, rather than be monetized by the NCAA and receive nothing for it beyond an education.

Ball once said, “If you want to be a professional athlete, you don’t need to spend 50 percent of your time in class.”

He was a genius in starting the JBA where players could get paid and start supporting their families rather than be forced to go to college for a year.

According to USA Today’s Lonzowire,  “The appeal of the JBA was that it was an option for players to bypass the one-and-done system and get paid for a year of professional basketball. Payment issues, though, have probably dampened some of the enticement of the league as is the fact the league ran only through the summer. While the NBA USA Team is currently on an international tour through Europe and Asia, it’s a team that consists of just 15 players and has left most players in the league without a route to play basketball.”

Darren Rovell on Twitter

LaVar Ball’s basketball league unofficially died today when the NBA announced that the G League would be willing to sign players – who are 18 but not yet an NBA eligible 19 – to a 5-month, $125,000 contract.

The NBA has probably squashed any viability the league will have going forward. The downfall of LaVar’s JBA league will be the final move in a chess match that has put more power in the hands of the NBA and the elite hoops prospects that the NCAA was accused of exploiting. However, just because the G-League is breaking bread, doesn’t mean that players skipping college to go pro will become the norm. All that glitters ain’t gold and going to college still has a lot of value even for a player destined to be a pro.

Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

I have doubts about how many top players will go this route. Some, yes. But G-League is full of early connecting flights, long bus rides, small gyms. It isn’t glamorous. Big-time NCAA ball still has the trappings of exposure, packed houses, private jets. You’ll get paid there too

Some basketball minds still see flaws in allowing players to go right to the G-League without securing a long-term education. An all-time high 265 players with NBA G League experience were on NBA rosters at the end of the 2017-18 regular season, representing 53 percent of the league, but what about the other 47 percent who have left college and given up their eligibility and free education to go pro?

“We appreciate the NBA’s decision to provide additional opportunities for those who would like to pursue their dream of playing professionally,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “The NCAA recently implemented significant reforms to support student-athlete success, including more flexibility when deciding whether to play professionally.

“Obtaining a college education continues to provide unmatched preparation for success in life for the majority of student-athletes and remains an excellent path to professional sports for many. However, this change provides another option for those who would prefer not to attend college but want to directly pursue professional basketball.”

Glenn Wong on Twitter

Syracuse recruit Darius Bazely will spurn the NCAA and head to the G-League. “This is history in the making, and this could open up the doors for so many people behind him,” Bazely’s mother said. https://t.co/tHvgO3Xizz

Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari has said players should be able to skip college for the NBA, but he also said that those going to the G League should be guaranteed eight semesters of college if they don’t make it to the NBA. Far more players fail to make it to the pros than make it and many of them are left uneducated and unprepared to deal with life after hoops.

Unfortunately, education isn’t the issue right now. This is all about 18-year-old basketball phenoms being able to get paid right away. It has no effect on the other 99 percent of athletes who are still suffocating under the “predatorial environment”of the NCAA. It’s a temporary fix to a larger issue that takes some heat off the NCAA, strips the governing body of some of its power and sends LaVar Ball back to the drawing board.

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