Bob Knight blasts the NBA Age Rule

As the nation falls in love with Kevin Durant and Greg Oden, and “fans” like Bill Simmons openly root against their teams in order to land one of the prized collegians, Bob Knight, ever the contrarion, blasted the NBA age limit rule.

“Because now you can have a kid come to school for a year and play basketball and he doesn’t even have to go to class,” Knight said Monday. “He certainly doesn’t have to go to class the second semester. I’m not exactly positive about the first semester. But he would not have to attend a single class the second semester to play through the whole second semester of basketball…That, I think, has a tremendous effect on the integrityof college sports.”

Does this happen? I listened, in a coach’s office, to a coach actually propose this scenario to a recruit before the age limit was passed. Al Jefferson was quoted during his recruitment attesting to similar comments. So, only the naive Dookie V’s of the world, can honestly suggest this is never said or does not happen.

I agree with Knight. College is not for everyone. There are plenty of good jobs available for people who lack a college degree; several of my friends do quite well financially without a Bachelor’s degree. So, why force future millionaire basketball players to play for free for a season?

Last week, some media outlets suggested the rule was to create instant name recognition for NBA draftees, much like the top of the NFL Draft. However, this does not carry weight. For every Kevin Durant who was known only to high school basketball fans, not the general basketball public, there is a Greg Oden, who most knew about during his junor year, if not before, and who was invited to the Team USA trials last summer. Did he need to dominate for a year at Ohio State so casual fans would know who he is? I don’t think so. Did LeBron James suffer from a lack of publicity in high school? OJ Mayo’s suspension from a couple games is national news, not a minor footnote at the bottom of a local newspaper. Eric Gordon played on ESPN; other high school games have been televised.

The NBA does not need players in college for one season to build their fan base; these players are already celeberities before they go to prom.The rule is unnecessary. If a student has a real interest in academics, by all means, encourage him to pursue his education. But, for those who do not, stop wasting their time and energy, as well as the university’s resources just to add a couple talented players to March Madness. The college game survived without LeBron James and it would thrive without OJ Mayo. Let the kids make the decision; stop forcing “educations” on those who do not wish to take advantage of the opportunity.

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~ by Brian McCormick on February 20, 2007.

2 Responses to “Bob Knight blasts the NBA Age Rule”

  1. Interesting point about the ridiculousness of making a future millionaire go to 1 semester of college, but I think you’re wrong about college not working as a good hyping ground, with Kevin Durant being exhibit A.Yes, we know about Oden, Lebron, and Mayo, but I think people only pay attention to about 1 ascendent highschooler a year (or every other year). 1 year of college has brough Durant to the cover of Sports Illustrated and built in much extra hype for his pro career.

  2. And, going to college killed Bill Walker’s hype. Last year, Walker was mentioned in the same breath as Mayo, and not just because they were teammates. Now he’s injured and an after-thought.Sure, the hype worked for Durant and it worked for Carmelo Anthony. But, it’s also hurt Greg Oden. Oden was hyped to such a degree that people have grown tired of hearing about him (which has thrust Durant into the spotlight, as much to take some of the press away from Oden as well as to create an artificial story, “Who’s #1?” to keep Oden’s publicity afloat). Can you imagine the hit Telfair’s hype machine would have taken had he gone to college? Look what it did to Darius Washington, who had articles written about him while publications tried to hype the Washington-Livingston-Telfair battle for point guard supremacy.I’m sure from an NBA marketing standpoint it is a good idea, though unnecessary in many (LeBron, Oden, Kobe, TMac, Telfair) cases. But, does that mean it’s worth damaging the integrity of the university?And, most people only pay attention to one hs player a year because few hs classes have more than one true superstar player; 2006 and 2007 are the exceptions, imo, not the rule. Other classes probably have talented players who can go straight to the L, but few classes have more than one transcendent player who enters the league with the hype of an Oden, LeBron, yao Ming, Telfair, etc. Of course, if espn continues to televise more and more hs games, they may create more of these teenage personalities who have shoe deals and street cred before they leave campus.

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