Call it a coincidence if you wish, but we’ll just call it the “Zion Rule”.
The new rule won’t be implemented overnight as the NBA’s proposal is just the initial step in formal negotiations to lower the age limit by the 2022 draft. The issue has to be collectively bargained and agreed upon by both the NBA and NBPA.
Everyone knows where the NBA superstars fall on the issue. Especially ballers like Golden State Warriors star DeMarcus Cousins who told reporters, “Knowing what I know now, college basketball is bullshit.”
LeBron has already called out the NCAA for its history of exploitation. He’s publicly called the NCAA corrupt and even produced an HBO documentary called, “Student Athletes” in October of 2018, which highlights the institutional denial of basic human rights for these student-athletes.
Getting rid of the one-and-done rule has been a topic of discussion ever since at least a dozen Division I men’s basketball programs and 25 players had been linked to possible recruiting and benefits violations by an FBI investigation, resulting in arrests and firings. It rocked college basketball and incited public demand for widespread changes in the NCAA system — especially as it relates to player compensation.
The NCAA vowed to implement rule changes that would help them avoid such scandals. The NBA beat them to it.
In July of 2018, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA is ready to lower the age minimum back to 18 to allow pro-ready players to forgo the current mandatory one-and-done system and go right to the league, but it wouldn’t be happening just yet.
The growing sentiment is that forcing a player to go to one year of college, where everybody but the player can capitalize on his celebrity and revenue generating potential is unconstitutional. In no other sport, is there a rule in place that says a player has to be a specific age before he can become a millionaire. When transcending players such as Zion are forced to risk losing everything just to keep the NCAA and sneaker companies afloat, something is terribly wrong with that system.
We almost witnessed the worst possible scenario in real time, when Zion’s sneaker exploded. Luckily, the injury didn’t have to end the future No.1 draft pick’s career, for the NBA to get the message.
Credit the NBA with once again being immediately responsive, sensitive and respectful of its players, product and the Black men whose talents drive the billion dollar machine. It’s been an incremental process, but the NBA’s latest proposal shows a concerted effort to right the wrongs of its past. The League is admitting that it’s exploitative and wrong to limit any person’s earning potential based on age.
A couple of months after Silver’s declaration concerning age limits, the NBA basically ended the one-and-done rule by announcing that 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.
LaVar Ball had it right all along with his JBL League. He was breaking ground and paying players who were ready to go pro and didn’t want to go to college for a year or two. The NBA pleased the public and got rid of the potential competition in one legislative swoop.
The new legislation was seen as a nice gesture, but eliminating one-and-done altogether is the ultimate goal and allowing us to see high school to pro phenoms such as LeBron James and Kevin Garnett rise again. Liberating these 18-year-olds to fully participate in an open capitalist society and build empires of their own. The Draft of 2022 will be an historical day as High School seniors will be eligible to get drafted and forgo college if they are capable.
This current proposal is the final step in phasing out a rule that has made agents, college coaches, universities and the NCAA richer, but caused alot of confusion, heartache and trouble for the talented and undercompensated collegiate student -athletes involved.