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What do you think about what Jermaine says?

O'Neal speaks out
Pacers center thinks age limit has racist undertones

Posted: Tuesday April 12, 2005 2:07AM; Updated: Tuesday April 12, 2005 2:07AM

TORONTO (AP) -- Indiana center Jermaine O'Neal said the NBA's desire to put an age limit in the next collective bargaining agreement could be driven by racism.

"In the last two or three years, the rookie of the year has a been a high school player. There were seven high school players in the All-Star game, so why we even talking an age limit?" said O'Neal, who was drafted out of high school in 1996 by the Portland Trail Blazers.

"As a black guy, you kind of think that's the reason why it's coming up. You don't hear about it in baseball or hockey. To say you have to be 20, 21 to get in the league, it's unconstitutional. If I can go to the U.S. army and fight the war at 18, why can't you play basketball for 48 minutes?"

The NBA's seven-year labor agreement expires after the season and NBA commissioner David Stern has asked for a 20-year-old age limit in the next deal, with incentives provided to players who defer their draft eligibility to stay in college. The union originally opposed raising the current age limit of 18, but has begun to waver.

Cleveland's LeBron James won the rookie of the year award last season, and Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire took home the honor for the 2002-03 season. Both were drafted out of high school.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

© MBM

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he makes a good point about the NBA allstars, but the wrong words were chosen. It is not a 'racist' concept to install age limits, it's simply job discrimination. I understand the NBA players Association's point as well. If the league is getting younger and younger [high school and foreign], this will lead to shorter careers, unless the NBA expands the number of players per team.

Not racist, just Age-ist...if that's a word
quote:
Originally posted by RadioRaheem:
he makes a good point about the NBA allstars, but the wrong words were chosen. It is not a 'racist' concept to install age limits, it's simply job discrimination...


Who else but Black players would be affected by this?

Can you name the last non Black player to be drafted out of H.S.?

Can you name any non Black player drafted out of H.S.?

If it looks, walks, & quacks like a duck, then guess what... it's a duck.

I happen to agree with stern in that most players are not ready for tha NBA right out of H.S., but I also think that it is too late to "cry about the spilled milk". Maybe the NBA should institute some sort of 2 or 3 orientation program so that the players can be brought up to speed slowly instead of the current "sink or swim" policy. Make them take college level courses or something. JMHO.

There have been only 4 that I can think of that were ready - Lebron J., Amare S., Moses M., & Darryl D. - that's it. The rest should have gone to college.
Well nothing has been said about the European players who have been coming in just as young. Very little commentary about how they're not when they have two battles to fight: Their age and their challenge to adjust to a new culture.

I'm a pretty decent fan especially around draft time. I think the best thing to do is have a fluid guideline if any.

They have the Summer League games where they can at least get an idea of who's mature enough to play or stay on a roster.

They should just channel those high schoolers who aren't ready to the NBDL with the new Minor League concept they're thinking about. I know I would try my best to have the Best Of Both World's. The AAU leagues are making more and more high schoolers who are ready. J.R. Smith (boy think of what UNC would have done with him) of the N.O. Hornets doesn't appear to be having too many problems. Josh Smith with Atlanta is playing good enough. And don't even mention possible Rookie of the Year Dwight Howard - Orlando. He comes in averaging a Double Double.
Since professional sports hiring young kids has never been a problem in baseball, hockey, tennis, golf, etc., why the problem in basketball? I think the recent impteus for this goes to the event in Detroit where players and fans went at it. IMHO - whether a kid went to college or not has nothing to do with the NBA players' reponses.

BTW - while college is a wonderful thing, only roughly 25% of Americans graduate from college, so is it really fair to be requiring young basketball players to do something that the vast majority of Americans don't do? Secondly, and again while I strongly agree that college is a great thing, should we really be preventing someone from making a living - particularly when the alternative earning power for most is nowhere near that of a professional player? Third, a kid can always go back to college. If they value a college education, then like many do, they will get it. There are only a precious few years that people can play professional sports. Should we really be telling Josh Howard or Amare Stoudemire or Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett that they can't be making a living?

The bottom line for me is why do NBA general managers need to be protected from themselves? If they don't think that a kid is ready, for whatever reson, then don't draft him - period. Since high school players have overwhelmingly been successful in the NBA, I am rather perplexed at arguments to limit their entrance to the league. I think it has something to do with the broader - cultural - issues that America has with young black makes making millions and living in their culture. Whatever . . .
"Since high school players have overwhelmingly been successful in the NBA, I am rather perplexed at arguments to limit their entrance to the league"

Overwhelmingly successful?? Carmello, Lebron and Amare are the only ones recently who came straight from high school and had an impact on the game right away. J. O'neal, T-mac, KG, Kobe etc took years to develop their game to the level it's at now. The fact is a majority of them are busts (i.e Kwame Brown). The age limit has nothing to do with racism, it's about the quality of the NBA product. JO had an incredibly hard time explaining himself on NBA Fastbreak last night, and spent the last 5-10 mins backpedling and saying that the media misquoted him etc....

edit: My bad, Carmello went to Syracuse
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quote:
Originally posted by ThaWatcher:

The fact is a majority of them are busts (i.e Kwame Brown).


Brother, the majority of NBA players, in total, are busts. The fact that we are talking about some of the absolute best players in the entire league, and they came directly from high school, IMO speaks to the suceess of the practice. Moreover, I would guess that a higher percentage of high schoolers are "successful in the NBA verus those coming out of college.

quote:
The age limit has nothing to do with racism, it's about the quality of the NBA product.


So - using your reasoning, 4 year college players would - on average - provide a "better product" than those coming out of high school? How would forcing Garnett, for example, to go to college have made him a better player? Conversely, are you suggesting that Magic and Larry and Doc etc. wouldn't have been as great as they were had they come stright from high school?

quote:
JO had an incredibly hard time explaining himself on NBA Fastbreak last night, and spent the last 5-10 mins backpedling and saying that the media misquoted him etc....


SO WHAT? You ever heard GEORGE BUSH speak? YALE B.A., HARVARD MBA. and still can't put a sentence together to save his damned life!
quote:
Originally posted by ThaWatcher:

High school players taken in the 1st round of last years draft:

Dwight Howard, Shaun Livingston, Al Jefferson, Sebastian Telfair, Robert Swirl, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, and Dorell Wright


So . . . Josh Childress is the poster boy for staying in school (a great one btw - Stanford) before coming out? ek sck

The bottom line for me is that general managers need to do their jobs. If they pick a kid who's not ready - that's not the kids fault, that's their fault. How can we tell a kid who may only have a few years of opportunity to make a living at that level for himself and his family that he can't do that beacuase although as JO said - he's old enough to get his head blown off in Iraq - he's not old enough to play NBA ball? ek I just don't get it.

BTW - where is society's condemnation of Bill Gates for dropping out of college to pursue an economic opportunity? Althogh I would still vehemently disagree with it, I believe a law prohibiting any athlete under a certain age to play any professional sport holds more water than targeting NBA players alone.
"Moreover, I would guess that a higher percentage of high schoolers are "successful" in the NBA verus those coming out of college."

Here are the current top 20 scoring averages in the NBA. Only 4 never touched a college campus. What is this "success" you're talking about:

1. Allen Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers) 30.5
2. Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) 27.4
3. LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) 26.9
4. Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks) 26.2
5. Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns) 25.8
5. Tracy McGrady (Houston Rockets) 25.8
7. Gilbert Arenas (Washington Wizards) 25.7
8. Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat) 24.1
9. Vince Carter (New Jersey Nets) 23.9
10. Ray Allen (Seattle SuperSonics) 23.8
11. Michael Redd (Milwaukee Bucks) 23.1
12. Shaquille O'Neal (Miami Heat) 23
13. Kevin Garnett (Minnesota Timberwolves) 22.4
14. Corey Maggette (Los Angeles Clippers) 22.2
15. Jason Richardson (Golden State Warriors) 22.1
16. Stephon Marbury (New York Knicks) 21.8
17. Paul Pierce (Boston Celtics) 21.6
17. Steve Francis (Orlando Magic) 21.6
19. Rashard Lewis (Seattle SuperSonics) 20.7
20. Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets) 20.4

Yes, I do think that the NBA would be much better if it was stocked with people who played 4 years of college. The majority of that top 20 left school early---and look at how ball is being played. Making KG go to college would've made him a better player, I think (KG averaged 10pts and 6 rebs in his 1st year in 30mins per game). These high school cats that come out usually can't even hit an open jump shot or shoot free throws well--and the execeptions are few. College isn't for everyone, and I agree that we shouldn't keep anyone from earning money at any age---but to say that the rule is rooted in racism is crazy! I think that the NBA should be able to say "we won't sign you if you aren't 20 years old." I'm so sick of the "I can fight a war, but I can't sign a multi-million dollar contract?" nonsense. People use that excuse too frequently when it comes to age limitations.
quote:
Originally posted by ThaWatcher:

Here are the current top 20 scoring averages in the NBA. Only 4 never touched a college campus. What is this "success" you're talking about:


Look at the total number of players in the NBA. My point is that I'm guessing that there are a higher percentage of high schoolers who are "successful" than college players. There are many less high schoolers, but on average - I'd say they are doing better. Beyond that, look at that same list and see how many finished four years of college and the number is even smaller. (Additionally, it's been relatively of late that large numbers of high school kids entered the NBA. That skews your list as well.)

quote:
The majority of that top 20 left school early---and look at how ball is being played.


So, it's the kids' fault that they got hired by the NBA??? Beyond that, why isn't it the coaches' fault that the quality of basketball isn't like it was? (BTW - I'd love to debate this "quality" issue with you sometime here.)

quote:
College isn't for everyone, and I agree that we shouldn't keep anyone from earning money at any age---but to say that the rule is rooted in racism is crazy!


Well we agree. The racism piece, I think, is more in the effect of the rule and perhaps not in the intention. Because the NBA is the only sport that has the concentration of black players that it does, and becuase the ruling would inordinantly impact black kids - I can see how it might be considered racist. On the other hand, I guess you could say that the no hand checking rule is racist as well. bsm

quote:
I think that the NBA should be able to say "we won't sign you if you aren't 20 years old." I'm so sick of the "I can fight a war, but I can't sign a multi-million dollar contract?" nonsense. People use that excuse too frequently when it comes to age limitations.


Well, what makes you sick about it? It seems pretty logical to me.

BTW - you don't need a law for that. If no general managers signed high school players then there wouldn't be an issue. In reality, the kids are the victims here. Why are GM's signing kids?
Jermiane O'Neal is a forward by the way..
I use to be on the other side of the argument of this. I use to support a rookie age limit in the NBA.. Until Lebron James came into the league. But Lebron James was a 19 yr old high school senior, so he was left back and/or retained for 1 grade.. There was no reason for Lebron James to have gone to college, he would have been waisting his time. If you could combine Magic Johnson & Michael Jordan you get Lebroan James. Lebron James is tied w/ Kevin Garnett for the 3rd best player currently in the NBA.

But is this issue #1. racist? and/or #2. do I support a rookie age limit?

The answer to #1. is possibly..
and #2. No; I do not agree w/ it.
A bigger issue is how the NBA & the NCAA effectively "punishes" kids who try to enter the draft & don't make it..
Currently if this happens & you retain the services of an agent you in effect forfeit the possibility to ever play college sport..
The recent Mike Williams (U$C Wide Receiver) & Maurice Clarrette (Ohio St. Running Back) stories are perfect examples of this...

If you don't make it, you should be given the opportunity to then attend college and/or the NBA should develope a minor league system...
"I'm so sick of the "I can fight a war, but I can't sign a multi-million dollar contract?" nonsense. People use that excuse too frequently when it comes to age limitations."

ThaWatcher...

We'll you maybe sick of it; could you try to refute it's relevancy?

A little off topic Watcher; but if you want to know what has "ruined" the NBA, you can start w/ the idea of a guaranteed contract...

The guaranteed contract is what has ruined basketball...
"We'll you maybe sick of it; could you try to refute it's relevancy?"

Usually that statement comes up when somebody wants to advocate something that has an age limitation (i.e. drinking alcohol). What does drinking alcohol or signing a multi-million dollar contract have to do with war? Remember when Kellen Winslow Jr. made that statement about "I'm a soldier" and "this is war"?--what did that have to do with football? I say again, being a soldier has nothing to do with signing a multi million dollar contract. Does JO know that the military has requirements too? They just don't throw anybody out there who can walk and chew bubble gum a the same time. There is and age requirement, testing, evaluation, training, and re-training. My point is this, most jobs that you sign up for in this country have some kind of requirement attached to them; for JO to say that this additional requirement is racist is foolish.

Now on the quality aspect. We probably can't narrow down the degeneration of the sport to one element. It's a combination of things. The atheletes are overpaid, under trained, and immature. It's crazy that an athelete can get a coach fired. It's even more crazy that an athelete can sign a contract with a team, then turn around and demand a trade. The game itself is slow (compared to college), relys too heavily on 3-pointers (My Celtics are a great example), and dumping the ball into the post and everybody watching one or two players. I think if the NBA got away from the "superstar" model and back to the "team" model the game would be much better. But with all of these corporate sponsorships, sneaker contracts, and TV deals I don't see that happening anytime soon....
"If no general managers signed high school players then there wouldn't be an issue. In reality, the kids are the victims here. Why are GM's signing kids?"

GM's are signing kids because a few have gone on to become really great players. No one wants to miss out on the next KG, Kobe, T-mac etc. What they fail to realize is that KG's don't come along in every draft.
quote:
Originally posted by ThaWatcher:

What does drinking alcohol or signing a multi-million dollar contract have to do with war?


Society is making a judgment about at what age our youth are mature enough to do things. I see an extraordinary double standard and logical inconsistency in saying that at 17 or 18 you are old enough to die for your country, yet you must be 20 to play basketball. It makes no logical sense.

quote:
Remember when Kellen Winslow Jr. made that statement about "I'm a soldier" and "this is war"?--what did that have to do with football?


That had nothing to do with age and everything to do with making an insensitive analogy during a time when people were sacrificing their lives in real war. The analogy actually works. We use it in sports and business every day. The context that the comment was made, however, rendered it inapropriate - IMO.

quote:
My point is this, most jobs that you sign up for in this country have some kind of requirement attached to them; for JO to say that this additional requirement is racist is foolish.


And it has been established that high schoolers can play in the NBA - at the highest levels. Why should the NBA prevent them, even if it is only one kid a year, from earning a living? Furthermore - JO's point is that withn the broader context of other professional leagues having no problem hiring high school athletes, that it raises questions about why the NBA is looking to do this. Furthermore, there is no question that the impact of this age limit will disproportionately harm young African American males. In that context, IMO, the impact of the ruling could be considered racist. In the one sport that has a higher concentration of black athletes, a rule will be created to limit the ability of some of those athletes to compete.

quote:
Now on the quality aspect. We probably can't narrow down the degeneration of the sport to one element. It's a combination of things. The atheletes are overpaid, under trained, and immature.


The athletes are overpaid? They couldn't be overpaid unless the owners were making the money to pay them. Are you concerned about the owners being overpaid?

Under-trained? Perhaps - but that seems to be the fault of coaches not the athletes.

Immature? Are you saying that people now are more immature than people were in the past? Why do you think that NBA players are more immature than they were?

quote:
It's crazy that an athelete can get a coach fired.


Why is that crazy? You don't think that Larry Bird could have gotten Bill Fitch fired? Who was more valuable to that team?

quote:
It's even more crazy that an athelete can sign a contract with a team, then turn around and demand a trade.


It happens every day. Something changes in a business relationship and contracts are renegotiated or severed. Why should athletes not have the same rights that everyone else has? Moreover, are you equally concerned that a team can sign a player to a contract and then turn around and trade him/her? What's the difference?

quote:
I think if the NBA got away from the "superstar" model and back to the "team" model the game would be much better.


But didn't the Pistons win a championship essentially with the team model. It must still be there. Also - was the NBA in the "superstar" model when Wilt averaged 50 a game in the late 1960's? It seems to me that teams take advantage of whatever talent they have. If you've got Larry and Kevin and Chief and DJ and Danny - then you use them. If, on the other hand, all you have is Bernard King - then you use him. Hasn't it always been that way?

quote:
But with all of these corporate sponsorships, sneaker contracts, and TV deals I don't see that happening anytime soon....


I know you're not suggesting that athletes - who make extraordinary amounts of money for others - shouldn't share in that windfall!!! ek
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"Society is making a judgment about at what age our youth are mature enough to do things."

Should a child be able to make this judgement? The Age requirement isn't about trying to keep more black men out of the NBA. It's about the NBA making a decision to improve it's product, and develop a minor league system.

"The analogy actually works. We use it in sports and business every day."

The analogy doesn't work, and it's misused every day.....ask anybody who's ever been in a war if it's anything like playing a game.

"Furthermore, there is no question that the impact of this age limit will disproportionately harm young African American males. In that context, IMO, the impact of the ruling could be considered racist. In the one sport that has a higher concentration of black athletes, a rule will be created to limit the ability of some of those athletes to compete. "

Any rule that you come up with in the NBA will disproportionately hurt or benefit African American males. When the minimum veterans contract got bumped up, it benefited AA males. Was that racist toward the non-AA veterans? I think that the NBA has the right to set their own standards of eligibility. And change them as the league evolves....

"The athletes are overpaid? They couldn't be overpaid unless the owners were making the money to pay them. Are you concerned about the owners being overpaid?"

According to the media there are only a few teams that make a profit each and every year. That's why owners were clamoring for a hard salary cap a few years ago. I guess I'm not overly concerned about the owners, because they don't come out on a regular basis making absurd statements in the media. "C'mon man, we're talking about practice!"---That's immaturity at it's finest....Sprewell talking about "I gotta feed my family" Eek

"It happens every day in business. Something changes in a cusiness relationship and contracts are renegotiated or severed. Why should athletes not have the same rights that everyone else has?"

Can you walk into your boss's office right now and say "I'm not happy here, I'm not coming to work, you still have to pay me and I want you to find me another job, in a better city for my own personal gain?? I also think that it's foul that some of these players get traded, but we expect that and we all know that it's "part of the game". This "trade me" stuff is a recent phenomenon....

"But didn't the Pistons win a championship essentially with the team model. It must still be there."

The Pistons proved that the superstar model doesn't work all the time. If you look around the league this model isn't being implemented. If you look at most of the playoff teams, 75% of them have little to no depth after the starting 5...because they spend all the money on the superstars!
I think there might be some flack from states that do not have an NBA team, wanting to "keep" high schoolers in the mixed awhile longer.

I agree with Jermaine O'Neal. You can go and fight in the war at 18, but you can't play professional basketball for 48 minutes? Clearly racial due to the overwhelming number of Blacks up for the draft, and in the NBA.
"Magic Johnson & Michael Jordan you get Lebroan James. Lebron James is tied w/ Kevin Garnett for the 3rd best player currently in the NBA."
==================================
WAY OFF TOPIC: Lebron James = Magic + Airness? Are you kidding me? Seriously, are you kidding yourself. When Michael Jordan was 19 years old. He hit the game winning shot for North Carolina Tarheels to win the NCAA Championship. What did Lebron James do when he was 19-years old? He sat on the couch as his Cavaliers missed the playoffs. Give yourself a break.


"...Racial due to the overwhelming number of Blacks up for the draft, and in the NBA..."
==================================
NOTE: For black people to be looked at in a serious manner, you really need to stop crying about racism is the answer to every problem.

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