Stern’s battle with NBA age limits

AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

You could say that college basketball is being ruined by players that only stay for one year, but you’d just be fooling yourself.

The truth is, it’s making a mockery of the university. Kids come to campus just to play basketball, not advance their education. That part bothers me because I pay for it, and you pay for it too.

So today, NBA Commissioner David Stern said that he is taking a long look at the league’s age limit that forces players to be at least 19 years of age before they can turn pro. Stern said he would like to add another year to the age limit, forcing players to be 20 years old before they can play in the NBA.

But I have a suggestion for Mr. Stern — add two more years, and don’t allow players into the league until they’re old enough to drink.

It’s working wonders for the NFL. The league doesn’t take young, immature kids and turn them into superstars, no matter how good they are. It would work for the NBA, too — if the player’s union would get out of the way and Stern would have the gall to double the number of years in his age-limit increase.

But you’re taking money out of the pockets of these kids, you might say. Sure, but these kids aren’t living that badly. I saw basketball players at NC State eating sushi for lunch during a College Gameday “All Access” segment this season. Most of us don’t do that too often.

And what about the multitude of kids who leave a year too early and are relegated to a career in the D-league or overseas, when they could have developed into an NBA talent if they stayed another year or two in college?

I think David Stern’s on to something, and I hope they can move the age limit. Maybe the kids would focus more on getting an education if they knew they’d need to stay a while, and that’s also a big plus if Stern’s plan can yield more focus on classes.

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