The National Basketball Association may finally do away with its “one-and-done” rule, which currently requires players to be at least 19 years old and one year removed from their high school graduations. According to Sham Charania of The Athletic, the league is engaged in deliberations with the NBPA about its repeal as part of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Created in 2005 by the late commissioner David Stern, the NBA reportedly instituted its “one-and-done” policy as a way to prevent a flood of underdeveloped talent from entering the league. Some players like Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James went straight from high school to the NBA and were considerable “prep-to-pro” successes. But the list of failed experiments is longer, including names such as Sebastian Telfair, DeSagna Diop, Jonathan Bender, and Kwame Brown.
The rule has been controversial since it was introduced, and its revocation has been discussed numerous times. In 2018, former NBA head coach Stan Van Gundy said, “I think personally — and now I’m definitely on a soapbox — the people who were against (players) coming out made a lot of excuses, but a lot of it was racist. The reason I’m going to say that is, I’ve never heard anybody go up in arms about letting kids go out and play minor-league baseball or hockey. They’re not making big money and they’re white kids and nobody has a problem.
“But all of a sudden, you’ve got a black kid who wants to come out of high school and make millions — that’s a bad decision?” he continued. “But bypassing college to go play for $800 a month in minor-league baseball – that’s a fine decision? What the hell is going on?”
However, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has teased the rule’s cancellation for years, dating back to at least 2014. And as recently as this past July, told reporters during his annual news conference that he believed “there’s an opportunity [to change the one-and-done rule],” too. “It’s [based on] larger conversations than just whether we go from 19 to 18, but I’m on record: When I balance all of these various considerations, I think that would be the right thing to do and I am hopeful that that’s a change we make in this next collective bargaining cycle, which will happen in the next couple years,” he said per ESPN.
Former NBA player Jalen Rose has long been a critic of the rule, too. And he is convinced that statutes such as the “one-and-done” rule are just “a residue of slavery.”
“The sports that are predominantly Black are the ones that, once you get into them, the goal is for you to feed the system and help the system make as much money as possible before you profit,” the current ESPN sports analyst said on a recent of Earn Your Leisure. “Basketball and football — predominantly Black sports — are the main ones with restrictions after high school. For a while, [the NBA] had a dress code, a salary cap, [you] couldn’t smoke weed, had a [limit on] length of contracts. Like, in baseball, you can sign a ten-year deal. In hockey, you can sign a nine-year deal. You can’t in basketball.”