Back in 2005, the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement negotiated a deal to raise the age limit for draftees to 19 and/or stipulate that incoming players must be at least one year removed from high school. At the time, it came off the heels of an era when several young high school stars had flamed out prematurely as it became evident they weren’t adequately equipped for the rigors of NBA life, both on and off the court.
For every LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, the thinking went, there were scores of cautionary tales that prompted us to reconsider the wisdom behind throwing such young and impressionable prospects into the meat-grinder. But a lot has changed since then. For example, the league’s rookie transition program has provided tremendous support for navigating the oftentimes treacherous territory of the pro sports landscape, dotted as it is with personal and financial pitfalls.
In short, there’s been a sea change of public opinion about the age limit, namely regarding the problematic ethics of denying young athletes the opportunity to earn as much income as they’re worth on the open market.
That’s why commissioner Adam Silver told The Washington Post that he believes the league’s one-and-done rule will likely be gone in the next few years.