SELF-SERVING, PLAYER-AGENT DEAL KEPT ZION OUT OF NBA
Upon the somewhat misguided, though not altogether unjustified, Twitter-inspired attacks earlier this week on the NCAA by NBA players after what initially appeared to be a serious injury to NBA-barred, 18-year-old college basketball phenom Zion Williamsom, we went out of our way yesterday to point out that the same NBA players complaining about Williamson’s so-called NCAA amateur status are actually playing a role themselves in banning Williamson and other gifted 18-year-olds like him from participating in their own game.
The ban on 18-year-olds entering the league, which originated with the 2005 iteration of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, would not remain in effect to this day if not for the continuing, active cooperation of the National Basketball Players Association.
Friday morning on ESPN-TV’s Get Up!, NBA information oracle Adrian Wojnarowski reported that that cooperation is now up for negotiation while in the process revealing what seems – at least to us – to be a Faustian bargain struck between current NBA players and their agents to keep young phenoms like Zion out of the league for as long as possible.
“What’s kept this from happening so far is the NBA (league office, team owners) wants some concessions from the (NBA) Players Association to drop the age limit.
“Number one, they want more participation at the NBA Draft combine of players.
“A lot of players are skipping it and not even showing up for measurements, weight, even minimal stuff – never mind playing.
“But the bigger issue is that the NBA, the teams especially, want access to all the players’ medical information coming into the draft.
“Right now agents can keep certain teams from getting players’ physicals, their medicals.
“If you (an agent) want to keep a player out of the number four team hypothetically somewhere (and) you want to get him to five, you can keep that team from seeing his medical information.
“They (the team) can still draft him but they have less information.
“That’s where this battle is right now.
“If they came to an agreement on that right now, the age limit is at 18.”
What are the odds Zion Williamson and the other precious few hoops phenoms like him realize they aren’t in the NBA today because past and present NBA players – and undoubtedly their agents – decided for him that he would rather reserve the right to hide his pre-draft medical information from NBA teams than actually play in the league as an 18-year-old?