Depending on your skill level, you can play in the NBA without going to college. The main rule is that you must be at least 19 years old and have graduated high school. If you’re younger than that, you will have to wait until the next NBA draft. This is not the traditional path, as most prospects go to college for exposure, education and hone their skills.
Can you play in the NBA without going to college?
There is a catch to playing in the NBA without going to college. You must be at least 19 years old and a year removed from high school graduation to be eligible for the draft. If you do not meet these requirements, you will need to wait until the next NBA draft to be eligible. However, if you are willing to make the sacrifice, playing in the NBA without a college degree is an option. It is a path that few take. Most NBA prospects choose to go to college in order to gain exposure, hone their skills, and to get an education.
While college may not be mandatory, it is a great advantage to have a college education. Whether you choose to attend a four-year university or a community college depends on your goals. Some players who have opted to play professionally in the G League instead of in the NBA do so because they are able to earn five-figure salaries while competing at a lower level than Division I college basketball. Others have opted to play overseas in lieu of attending college. One such player is Brandon Jennings, who played for a foreign league after completing high school, and Satnam Singh, who entered the draft as a high school postgraduate.
The NBA’s eligibility rule is protected by court precedent. A ruling in the 2004 case of Maurice Clarett v. NFLPA held that the league had the right to collectively bargain an eligibility restriction that prevented high school players from playing in the NBA. Consequently, players who enter the NBA without college can’t be drafted until they have completed three years of college. However, no player has yet to challenge this restriction on the basis of age discrimination.
Another exception to the one-and-done rule was the Australian National Basketball League, where high school graduates could sign with a team and play in the NBL. The one-and-done rule has become controversial since it was first introduced in the 1970s. However, a handful of players have jumped directly from high school to the NBA, including Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant. Moreover, Jermaine O’Neal made the leap two decades later.
Potential changes to NBA rules
The NBA is considering changes to its draft rules that could make it easier to get into the NBA without going to college. The players association and the NBA are close to a deal that would allow players to declare for the draft at age 18. The change could mean that players can jump straight from high school to the NBA. It also has the potential to kill the “one-and-done” trend in college basketball.
Currently, if players withdraw from the draft at the 10 day mark, they retain their eligibility in the NCAA. However, if the player withdraws from the draft before then, they will not be able to play in the NBA. This would put the risk out of declaring for the draft, but the players that remain in the draft would have to pursue professional options outside of the NBA. One such option is the G League.
In addition to this potential change, the NBA G League has developed into a true farm system. Teams can send young players down to the league to get more coaching and playing time. If a player shows potential in the G League, they could be called up to the NBA. Two-way roster spots have also helped increase the number of second-round picks and undrafted free agents on rosters.
While some argue that one-and-done rule is in the best interest of the NBA, others argue that it hinders players’ ability to grow as an individual. It also limits the autonomy of players and college coaches. However, this change could result in fewer players deciding to turn pro as early as their high school years.
Another potential change in the NBA’s rules could make it easier to get in the NBA without going to college. Some players make use of a loophole in the rules that forces them to pump up their shots and a defender lunges forward to contest them. While the NBA has worked to reduce this foul, many players still get away with it.
One potential change to the draft rules could allow more high schoolers to get in the NBA without going to college. In the past, players from high schools have been drafted without undergoing a college-level physical exam. However, this could also lead to players who decide to skip college altogether.
Spencer Haywood’s fight to bypass college
Spencer Haywood’s fight to get into the NBA without going to college is a story that can’t be overstated. After playing basketball in the ABA for two years and winning the MVP of the ABA all-star game, Haywood was noticed by an owner of an NBA team. But he wasn’t quite four years out of high school, so he took legal action. As a result, he was booed in court and disrespected by the NBA players association.
Spencer Haywood played basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts, New York, and Seattle before settling in Las Vegas. He also went to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, so he has seen some of his idols in the pros. Although he may not have played as much basketball as Kobe Bryant or Kevin Garnett, he is a fan of their work and has an admiration for the way they play basketball.
After playing for two years in the ABA, Haywood landed a contract with the Seattle SuperSonics. The Seattle management offered him money to sit out one season and not be drafted, but Haywood refused and started a legal battle with the NBA. He eventually became an NBA champion and scored 14,592 points with 7,038 rebounds. He also fought an addiction to cocaine and overcame his personal demons.
Spencer Haywood’s fight to get in a top NBA team without going to college is one of the most inspirational stories in sports. His story has inspired thousands of people and is a great example for anyone who is struggling to make it. It’s also a great story for young players who are interested in becoming professional players.
Haywood fought the NBA’s ban on high school players entering the NBA draft, and he won! This victory changed the game forever, paving the way for countless other players to enter the NBA without a college degree. Haywood went on to play 12 years in the NBA, including one season in the ABA, and one overseas season. He played on the Los Angeles Lakers and won the NBA championship in 1980. He also went on to enter the Hall of Fame.
After his basketball career ended, Haywood went on to fight for players’ health. After the agent’s misconduct, he studied business and invested in real estate in cities like Detroit and Salt Lake. He is still close with Phil Knight, his former agent. Haywood was also a key player in helping Michael Jordan sign with Nike.