So think for a moment about the most drastic influences of single careers over the course of the NBA history: Jordan, James, Bryant, McGrady, Garnett. Kemp. I could go on. You have to be 19 to enter the league nowadays. Kobe Bryant was drafted at 17. Lebron went at 18. Here’s the question: with so many greats coming straight out of high school at such a high percentage, do we really know what we’re doing by restricting the minimum age?
There have only been 44 guys to get drafted straight out of high school. Not only do you have Hall of Famers on the list, but you also have some serious longevity, and lots of all stars.
So here’s the question: did scouts just spot the talent at an early age? Were these kids destined for stardom anyways? Or was there another reason this list reached super-stardom at such a higher percentage than the norm?
We do not understand the development of the human body. What I mean by that is we develop at different rates. [We’ve shown theorized about how and why this happens, but for the sake of this article, you just have to agree to the premise] The number 19 is completely arbitrary since you have some kids that are grown men at 17. Is anyone going to make the argument that Kobe or Lebron should’ve gone to college? No. They were ready. They found their calling and went the right direction.
Michael Jordan went to college. You’re right. He did. And he was the greatest player in the history of the game. I can’t argue with that. What if he didn’t go to college?
If age is just a number, who cares when these kids enter the league. Why are we stopping them? It seems like whatever they are learning in college, it is not helping their skill or longevity.
Because everyone develops at different rates, everyone peaks at different rates. So what this rule is doing is rewarding those who bloom later. I’m not saying ten-year-olds should be able to drive or drink alcohol, but if we have a system in place to reward athletes based on talent and merits, let’s not punish the kids that develop early.