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Tuesday, July 26, 2005
More Enemies of the NBA Age Limit


It seemed like such a happy, healthy thing when it first came up. But now that it is becoming reality, the NBA's new age limit--players must be 19 and at least one year removed from high school to play in the NBA--is achieving all sorts of new enemies.

Chief among them is Michael McCann, one of Maurice Clarett's former lawyers, who is waging a blog war against the age limit that might well spill over into the courtroom.

As of today, another critic is Harvey Araton, sports columnist for The New York Times. Araton points out that no one was upset when Roger Clemens' white, upper-class son Koby passed up college for the big money of professional leagues.
No one denounced Koby Clemens's outright rejection of a priceless education, his passing on the social benefits of dormitory life.

Even Harmon, the jilted Texas recruiter, viewed the decision as the comprehensible way of the world. "Some kids don't want to go to school, and that's fine," Harmon said. "School's not for everyone."

Except, apparently, for young American basketball players, most of them black, who for years have reluctantly found themselves in the middle of a college debate rife with sanctimony, with paternalistic double standards too often predicated on race. And who, just last month, were bartered back into the N.C.A.A.'s clutches for at least one year, the result of a collective bargaining agreement between the N.B.A. and its players union.


Araton makes some good points. But one of the big differences between NBA players and MLB players skipping college? The MLB has invested in a real minor league system. That would make a lot of people feel better. I'm glad the NBA is heading in that direction.