High school athletes should be allowed to go straight to the NBA

by Jack Strawhorn, Staff Writer

Following the 2005 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft the one-and-done rule was put into effect requiring all basketball players graduating from high school to play one year of college before pursuing a career in the NBA. The rule was intended to allow young athletes time to mature before starting their careers in the NBA. I strongly disagree with this rule and believe that athletes should be able to participate in the NBA after they have graduated from high school. 

According to the 2018 Census Bureau, approximately 38.1 million people live in poverty in the United States which is 11.8 percent of the country. Of these 38.1 million people, many of them are student-athletes and getting to the professional level is a way that they would be able to provide for themselves and their families. 

Lebron James is a perfect example of how the ability to go from high school to the NBA changed his life. As a kid, James had a single mother who struggled to raise him and as a result, he went to live with his basketball coach in a more stable home. After he had graduated from St. Vincent-St.Mary high school James was good enough to be selected as the first pick in the 2003 NBA draft. The day of the draft changed James’ life as he was finally able to provide for his mother, himself, and now kids of his own. If James was forced to play for a year in college who knows what his mother’s situation would have looked like as she continued to live in poverty in the projects. 

Many people will argue that high school athletes can make money playing professional basketball by taking the overseas route. However, taking this route can be a very difficult change for most people. First, going overseas can tend to make a person feel alone as English is not usually the primary language. Can you imagine being a year out of high school and not knowing the main language in the place that you live? This can be very mentally tough for young athletes who are still growing as a person. Secondly, the culture is very different. Many of the things that these athletes are familiar with in the United States are not available to them in these countries overseas. Lastly, some athletes are needed by their families and going across the world is not an option. 

Kevin Durant is a two time NBA champion and currently one of the best players in the league. As a kid, Durant did not have the best childhood as his father walked out on his family when Durant was only about a year old. In response, Durant had to step up in the house and help out along with his two other siblings. Going through many tough times with his family has made them very close especially his relationship with his mother. As a result, the thought of going across the world would be heartbreaking to both him and his family.

Forcing a player to play a year of college basketball before heading to the NBA puts them at risk of acquiring an injury. According to the National Athletic Trainers Association, 22% of all male basketball players sustain at least one time-loss injury each year. Somebody who is on the verge of making millions of dollars in the NBA might have it all thrown away because of one bad injury that they acquired in college where they were forced to play. 

Kevin Ware was a highly recruited player out of high school in 2011. He attended the University of Louisville where he was one of the stars of the team. He had dreams and aspirations of one day playing in the NBA. However, March 31, 2013, Kevin Ware broke his leg in one of the most gruesome injuries in NCAA history and he never played basketball at the same level again.

Time is precious. These three words sum up a basketball player’s life. Every day these athletes are working towards one goal; the NBA. However, all it takes is one bad injury for their dreams to be crushed. As a result, having players waist a year in college if they know they have a promising future in the NBA is pointless and essentially can ruin their life.

The NBA consists of some of the most prestigious basketball minds in the entire world. A lot of people don’t realize how much coaching these young athletes receive before and after practice. While in college players are only allowed to be in the gym for a certain amount of time. However, in the NBA these athletes can play with the best players in the world for as long as they please. 

Gregg Popovitch is a five-time NBA champion and is known as one of the greatest head coaches of all time. Popovitch has been coaching basketball since 1973 and knows everything that needs to be done to succeed in the game of basketball. A player would be crazy to pass up a chance to be coached immediately by a great coach like Popovitch.