NBA’s G League Is Competing With Colleges For Players

The NCAA’s grip is slipping.  

The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s men’s basketball division has been a major source of research and development for the National Basketball Association since the league began in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America. It has been a free training ground in player development and the NBA gladly took a finished product and hired them. But the NCAA’s perfect world of student-athletes playing for the glory of a school is under assault from politicians who want to see student-athletes have the ability to make money off their faces. The NBA is now competing with colleges for top talent for the NBA’s G League. Top high school and prep school talent is headed to the G League this fall, assuming there are NBA, G League and college basketball seasons, with Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd signing with the NBA-owned entity. Others might follow them. The NCAA Men’s College Basketball division cannot pay Green and Todd what the NBA is offering. The G-League can pay elite players coming out of high school $125,000 a season and allows the players to sign a marketing partnership.

In 2005 NBA Commissioner David Stern didn’t want elite 18-year-olds in his league and was able to get the players association to agree those players should be barred and could apply for a job when they turned 19. Starting in 2006, the elite players could go to college for a year then apply for a job. The G-League will have a team of elite players who will play just 20 games with a lot of practices and training. The NCAA lost two highly regarded players in 2019. R. J. Hampton ended up in New Zealand and LeMelo Ball played in Australia. Both players could be lottery picks in the 2020 NBA Draft, whenever that event is held. The NBA might allow 18-year-olds to be eligible for employment in 2022.

(Courtney Culbreath/UAA Communications via AP)