Basketball College NBA

Opponents of the One-and-Done Ignore the Facts

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has a new book coming out about his relationship with legendary coach John Wooden. To promote it, he is making the rounds on a press tour. On said tour, Kareem voiced his disdain for the one-and-done system.

“They’re there less than six months. It’s not even six months and they’re gone,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “It’s a travesty, I think. They’re just using the college system as a stepping stone to the NBA, and that’s really unfortunate. I think an education is vital to having a good life, and these guys aren’t getting that opportunity. It’s sad.”

(via the Associated Press)

Kareem is not the first to criticize the system and will undoubtedly not be the last. However he has to be one of the last people that has a right to question it. Education may be vital to having a good life but it’s fair to say that Kareem himself would have been fine without it. The guy played 20 seasons in the NBA, leveraged an acting career off of his fame , and now does whatever he wants because of basketball. How much of his income over the years do you think directly has come from his History degree? Furthermore, under the current rule he still would’ve been required to attend his university for at least a year therefore still having the opportunity to forge his oh so cherished bond with Coach Wooden.

Actually if it weren’t for the one-and-done, these kids would never attend college at all. The day they graduated high school they would be declaring their eligibility for the NBA draft. What is better Kareem? A little bit of college with at least some leadership and guidance from a coach or no college at all?

It seems a tad hypocritical for a man who has made 100% of his fortune from basketball to criticize young men who seek to do the same thing. Kareem hating on one-and-dones is the equivalent of Draymond saying he hates cheaters. Pot meet kettle. Oh what a “travesty” for these guys to make millions and support their families. They should hold off on three years of income to get a degree that they will never use instead.

There is always the risk that a player doesn’t pan out. Then he is going to wish he got an education right? Well let’s take a look at that. Perhaps scouts misjudge that player’s talent and he is not a serviceable NBA player. Well if he is selected in the first round of the draft like many one-and-dones are, that player will have the first two years of his contract guaranteed. Last year that would have landed the player anywhere from around $12 million in guaranteed money for the first pick to just under $2.5 million for the last pick of round one. How long would it take that same guy to make $2 million in a different profession?

A recent Time article had the following to say about graduation college seniors’ income levels…

“In its most recent survey, the National Association of Colleges and Employers found that for 10 broad degree categories ranging from engineering to communications, 2016 graduates are projected to have an average salary of $50,556. That’s up 5% from 2014, when new grads earned an average of $48,127.”

So what would you do if you had the option? You can stay in school for four years only to make $50,000. Or go for a quick six months and make a couple million. What makes more sense? This is the decision that these kids are having to make. Seems pretty obvious what makes more sense.

Forty years ago, it probably made more sense to stay in school because the income levels would have been a lot more similar. But in today’s NBA, money is flying around. Even the most average of players can garner a quick $30 million in the free agent market. It may not be traditional but the one-and-done system is what it is. If you’re really concerned about it making a sham out of college then blame the NBA. They are the ones who set the rules, not 19 year old kids.


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