New NBA commissioner wisely considering increasing required age to 20, ending ‘one and done’

The National Basketball Association is challenging the NFL in global popularity and is undergoing some significant change.

Longtime commissioner David Stern has retired after 30 years, and former deputy commissioner Adam Silver has taken over. Silver is interested in adjusting the playoff system, preventing “tanking” and the biggest possible change, moving the NBA age requirement to 20.

In 1971 Spencer Haywood challenged the NBA’s rule that forced athletes to go to college for four years before entering the league. Haywood won his case and paved the way for future players.

Moses Malone became the first player to go straight to the pros from high school and ended his career by being selected in the basketball hall of fame. The next year, Darryl Dawkins and Bill Willoughby entered the NBA. They were the last two players to forgo college for the association for 20 years.

In 1995 the USA Today’s national high school player of the year, Kevin Garnett made the controversial decision to enter the draft and become the first high school player to be selected in the draft in 20 years. He reopened the door for high school players for the next 10 years such as Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Dwight Howard to make the leap to the NBA.

A decade after Garnett’s decision, the NBA decided to raise the age limit to 19 and be one year removed from graduation.

High school seniors are currently faced with essentially three options after graduation: They could go play in college for at least one season, leave the country and get paid to play overseas or they could sign with an NBA D-League team.

Many players have succeeded after playing a year in college such as Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Derrick Rose. Others might have benefited from a few more years on campus such as former top recruits Xavier Henry and Josh Selby.

So what should the NBA do about the age limit? Stars have come out of high school, one year in college and a full four years in college to succeed.

Lebron James came out of high school to dominate immediately, and, after all, this is America. Many people would tell you that you should be able to choose what you want to do with your life. Saying that, James has the potential to go down as the greatest player to ever play the game, and it isn’t often that 18 year olds are able to keep up with 28 year olds.

Going to college for a year is the current path chosen by most future NBA studs. They get a chance to play against better competition and work on their individual game to improve themselves for the rest of their careers. Carmelo Anthony may be the best candidate to show the best of both worlds for college basketball and the NBA. He led his Syracuse team to the 2003 NCAA championship in his first and only season. He then declared for the draft and has arguably become the best pure scorer in the game today. Both sides won in this case.

Other one-and-done players such as Xavier Henry, who was a top three player coming out of high school, have struggled mightily in the league. After not meeting lofty expectations at his only season at the University of Kansas, Henry declared for the NBA draft. He has played for three teams in four years and averaged barely over five points per game. No one knows what could have happened, but with a few more seasons in Lawrence, he might have produced a better NBA product.

New commissioner Adam Silver reportedly favors an age minimum of 20 years or two years removed from high school graduation. This is the best decision of any of the options. This option benefits both parties, the NCAA and the NBA the most. College basketball gets to have their best players around for another year and establish more familiarity around the country.

The NBA gets a more polished product and players more likely to succeed after having more basketball experience.

We do live in the United States of America, and players shouldn’t have to be withheld from possible paychecks. While players cannot go to the NBA right away, they can still go make money overseas or play in the NBA’s D-League.

Succeeding David Stern and his legacy will not be easy, but Adam Silver can make a big step in the right direction by increasing the age requirement in the game that is still globally growing.

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