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LETTER: Raising the age limit

On April 14, 2014

To the editor:

About two months ago, the National Basketball Association changed commissioners. After 30 years of being led by David Stern, Adam Silver is now the man in charge. Recently at the Sloan Conference, Silver was quoted by ESPN saying, “Raising the age limit for the NBA Draft from 19 to 20 is a matter of great importance.” I believe the NBA needs to raise the limit to 20 to help improve the quality and economic status of the league.

As I am a big basketball fan, I always get excited when it comes to the NBA Draft. I’ve watched closely the drafts over the years and have been disappointed too many times in the undeveloped talent and the risks teams are taking when drafting young prospects. A prime example is the 2007 draft. With the first pick in the draft, the Portland Trail Blazers picked Greg Oden over Kevin Durant. Both players played only for one year at the collegiate level. While Durant has met and surpassed the expectations for him, Oden turned out to be a huge bust. Oden only played two seasons for the Trailblazers and has been out of the league for a few years now.

Charles Barkley told Sports Illustrated that “the NBA is the worst it has ever been.” Barkley is a former NBA player and is currently a basketball analyst for TNT. There have been multiple busts in the past few years. To name a few: Anthony Bennett, Kwame Brown, Darko Milicic and Michael Olowokandi. I can’t blame any talented basketball player for wanting to jump right into the NBA; after all, there’s millions of dollars in guaranteed money waiting for them.

Raising the age limit to 20 would allow these kids to grow and develop their basketball skills and also mature as a person while staying in college another year. Another benefit is that NBA scouts will have an extra year to determine more accurately who is going to live up to their potential and who isn’t going to.

While limiting the amount of risk of drafting a young 19-year-old, who a team has only had a chance to scout for four months, raising the minimum age to 20 could also have a large economic benefit to the NBA. While playing more basketball at the collegiate level, young basketball players would develop their games more, and when a NBA team drafts them, they’ll be a well-developed product. NBA prospects would gain more exposure and therefore gain more popularity among fans. When they reach the NBA, they could already be a star, creating more hype and generating more revenue for the NBA through ticket and merchandise sales.

In conclusion, raising the minimum age limit to 20 from 19 will improve the NBA. The players will be more mature as people if they spend an extra year in college. The NBA will get better products and will spend its money more wisely while generating more money in revenue with an improved league.

Skyler Martinson

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