The NBA is one organization that has not garnered much controversy in recent years, compared to other professional sport organizations (cough, NFL, cough). This may lead some to believe that there have not been many issues with the organization as a whole, but in fact, there has been one particular rule that has raised much concern over the years it has been plaguing the NBA. The “One-and-Done” rule, when implemented, restricted high school graduates to enter directly into the NBA draft following high school. The rule requires one year of college in order to qualify to enter the NBA. With significant steps as of late to abolish the rule, I found it particularly interesting to delve deeper into why it has been opposed so harshly, and maybe understand why others believe it deserves to stick around.
Basketball is primarily for entertainment, right? Like all other sports? Well, the magic of the one-and-done rule allows for plenty of entertainment for those that enjoy watching college ball! Upon barring high schoolers from entering the NBA directly after high school, it allows fans to see such top tier talents (Derrick Rose, Greg Oden, etc.) that are going to be big names, on a much smaller, more intimate scale. Also, it also obviously boosts the skill level of the NBA as a whole, as it forces players to mature and age, heightening their skills by the time they enter the NBA. Additionally, although some players have found much success joining the NBA directly out of high school (e.g., Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Kevin Garnett), there have been many that fizzled out immediately (e.g., Jonathan Bender, Sebastien Telfair, Kwame Brown), potentially robbed of a potentially great career if they had allowed themselves to mature more.
There is a large variety of concerns with the one-and-done rule that have been present and bothersome for many years. NCAA coaches and scouts complain that not only do they now have to work on finding excellent talent, but talent that will not leave their team for the NBA after just one year. In the same vein, players have complained it ruins college ball, as when players realize they have reached their NBA potential, they no longer have any incentive to play, lowering morale. Players also no longer necessarily fit the title of ‘student-athlete’, as those players that are there for just one year before they jump to the NBA do not focus strongly on their schooling, leading to potentially skewed academic records.
Personally, I think the abolition of the one-and-done rule is long overdue and that its hopeful disappearance will bring a rise in popularity to the newer NBA G-League. Players, talented early on or not, should all have the choice to play basketball and choose a life path that best suits them, without rules to pressure them or suppress them.
Featured image of One and done athlete Ben Simmons (2016’s #1 NBA draft pick)