Nerdnumbers avatar

The NBA would have deemed Facebook Ineligible

The NBA has a lot of bizarre rules. Things like age limits, salary limits, and forced work assignments (for top prospects) would be unthinkable in other fields.

Here's a fun comparison: Imagine that there was a National Software Developer Association. Let's pretend that it had a college program where future developers could have their college paid for. However, they would have to remain "amateurs", which means that they wouldn't be able to profit from their software outside of school-sponsored events. They'd be inelligible from getting software-related jobs. Also, they'd have to wait two years before joining the real National Software Developer Association, where they could actually make money off their own work.

What would one side effect be? Well, no Facebook for one.

Mark Zuckerberg started working on Facebook while he was a student at Harvard. Obviously this was not a school sanctioned project. And of course, he was "profiting" from his work by getting stock in a company while he was still a student. What's more, Zuckerberg didn't even finish his second year at Harvard – he dropped out during his sophomore year so he could spend more time working on Facebook. If there were some organization like the NCAA policing collegiate software development, then Facebook probably wouldn't exist.

It's really hard to take tech people – like Mark Cuban – seriously in regards to NBA age limits when much of the tech field has been led by college dropouts (Jobs, Gates, Zuckerberg; the Google founders quit their PhD program). What's more, Cuban has actually rallied against the rising costs of college. Yes, most players won't be ready for the NBA from the get-go. But in other fields, letting young stars freely practice their chosen careers is not a problem. Remember when LeBron James and Dwight Howard went #1 overall in back-to-back drafts? Was that really so terrible for NBA basketball?

In fields like the tech industry, it's been a huge part of our success – and we embrace it. How long will it take the NBA to do the same?

I don't think the analogy really works. Zuckerberg attended college for 1 year and he got no pay for his software-writing while he was there - it was an unpaid avocation. The next year, he dropped out of college and became a professional software developer. Which is pretty much exactly what top NBA prospects do with respect to basketball.

The age limit is dumb, but I really don't why anyone should really care other than a handful of prospects. NBA fans miss out on 1 year of top prospects when they are 18 years old (and, even then, we get to watch them play college ball). Who cares? The likelihood that an 18 year-old player - even a top prospect - will be above league average in production is vanishingly low. I mean, what as LeBron's WP48 his rookie year? How about Durant's? So the idea that we, the NBA fans, are missing out on anything great is silly.
http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/9364989/san-antonio-spurs-doing-right-drafting-international-athletes-espn-magazine

This says something more about the spurs more than anything. This is a choice made by the spurs. So if another teams loves drafting nothing but high school players, let them. The right to choose is what drives a free market. Its hard to predict whether a guy is going to be good at 18 or 19 and sometimes 17(Kobe and Bynum). I have been going through lots of sites and a lot of guys who came out had injuries, got drafted by the wrong team(bad organization, bad fit, bad coach, bad players) or surrounded by a bad support system. Being drafted into a losing environment might effect a kid who has been used to winning. Being drafted unto a team where is getting little to no minutes because the front office likes but the coach can't stand him. There are so many factors, thats why I hesitate to call a player a bust. Under certain circumstances that player might have been another Lebron or Dwight. There have been more dominant high school players than those two.
Al S,
Their development was better suited in the NBA, the actual league they want to play and get paid in not some quasi-pro league with different rules. I think they should streamline the sports in North America. FIBA does a great job of this. And is advocating 18 year olds go to college but if you had the opportunity to go pro out of high school what would you do?
In any case, if software development was like the NBA, Zuckerberg would never have developed Facebook for another reason. He would have been drafted by Larry Ellison with a late lottery pick and been stuck in Redwood City developing Oracle applications for 8 years.
But he gets paid for his services.
Well, as it happened, he didn't get paid his freshman year of college. Which is no different than Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, John Wall, etc.

On the flip side, he could get paid in equity without a salary maximum.
That lessens the blow of losing that one year.
You're too smart for this dumb analogy.

1. The NSDA isn't structured at all like a professional sports league. It doesn't have any real power over the industry at large and those involved in it.

2. Plenty of career fields have very extensive requirements for employment. My current job required a masters degree. Sure, there are plenty of people talented enough to do this job with only a BA. However, the institution feels it should have high barrier to entry. They have the right to do that.

3. As interested in data as you are I'm surprised at your objection to mandatory college experience. More years in college = more usable data for prospect evaluation. If I were an NBA GM I would be pushing for 3 years. It makes it much easier to filter out the Austin Rivers and Shabazz Muhammad's of the world than it would be otherwise.
AI_S,
Not true. First, there are email records of him agreeing to freelance develop for the Winklevoss twins for money. Second, he accepted funding from Eduardo Saverin, which was used to fund servers, housing, etc. Finally, he did receive "stock" in his own venture (which did have value given the funding)

If an NCAA player started playing basketball on the side with the promise of future money, you bet the NCAA would be all over it. Heck, Michael Oher was being investigated by the NCAA because it was alleged his adopted family added him to their will to coerce him to go to Ole Miss.
There are two different parts of this argument that are being linked together. First, is the age limit imposed by the NBA. Second, is the amateur status imposed by the NCAA. These are two different rules that are independent of each other. The NBA imposing and age limit does not prevent a potential player from making money. That only applies if they choose to play in the NCAA during the "waiting period". They have the option to play in Europe or the D-League and then they can sign all the shoe contracts they want. Which makes me wonder why more guys don't take that option. Why should Wiggins risk getting injured this year, when he probably has the option to sign an eight figure contract with Nike or Adidas today?
This goes into people's poor decision making skills. Money now is worth more than money later. I have always thought but athlete aren't surrounded by the best support systems, sold on the college route, kids like the pampered attention they receive from college coaches, etc. I'm surprised leagues outside of the US aren't taking these kids at younger ages and developing them. The evaluation system in sports is so inefficient. Watching a youtube clip of a guy or him running through cones is not the best way. The proof is in the production.
JMills,

If you think that those two rules are independent of each other, I have a pair of Air Jordans that I'll sell to you for the low price of $100 000.
I think you'd be better served explaining why the NBA should be more the like the Spanish ACB or Major League Baseball as least. It's a much more appropriate comparison and would get your point across better.
This should give you guys a clue about how inconsistent the scouting is in basketball. Wade was the 103rd ranked player in the 2000 high school class but Deshawn Stevenson was the 7th ranked player. Stevenson went pro out of High School and Wade went to college. Chris Duhon was also tied at 7th and went to Duke. College does wonders for NBA players though.
Basketball players are welcome to drop out of college or forgo it entirely to play in Europe or start their own basketball leagues. The NBA is a company that has its own employment qualifications like any other. It is just so big and controls so much of the market that I think you have missed that aspect. I don't think your comparison is really apt.
I agree with DG22... if you want the NBA to not have a monopoly of professional talent in the US legislate it. Otherwise I feel like you are bringing up points that aren't really pertinent to the current power structure. If your whole life you loved Apple and all you wanted to do is work at Apple you'd have to jump through their hoops in exactly the same way. Is it fair? No, but the US sports leagues are not set up to be fair in the same way that many businesses in the US are not set up to be fair. If a few enterprising high school individuals decided to set up their own professional basketball association than I'd be all for it (regarding your facebook analogy).
legislalion does little btw

more college= more data not entirely true their are phd who are dumb
Legislation does little? You realize our entire country is formed by legislation, right? Child labor laws, education, criminal acts, anti-trust laws.... etc, etc, etc. Our country is governed by laws and the only reason professional sports can govern as they do (through collusion) is by an exemption from anti-trust laws. Legislation does everything.
i assure you in my country legislation gets in the way of prosperity :)
Dre, according to Wikipedia (which is an unimpeachable source, surely), that all happened during Zuckerberg's sophmore year.
Devin,

The two points may or may not be related, but regardless, there is nothing stopping a player from profiting from basketball the day they finish high school. They just can't do it while playing in the NCAA. I honestly don't understand why the NBA-D isn't capturing some of these players???? They can sign marketing contracts and also make some money from the teams. And it won't affect their draft stock if they were ranked highly enough in high school. Wiggins could have taken this year off and still go top 3.
Dodgson,

Only MLB has an exemption from federal antitrust laws. NBA, NFL, NHL, etc. do not.
jbrocato,

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/15/1291
Iceman,

A country without legislation which is enforced becomes a country of strongmen who take what they want. Be as anti-governmental as you want but please look at the states around the world which are unable to enforce legislation, they are pretty much all war-torn hellholes.
Dodgson,

Ok, so the NBA is exempt from antitrust laws as they relate to TV deals. I don't think that's what you were originally implying.
and the states who have too much legislation collapsed also :D
It is interesting to me that people talk about the value of college and miss the "value" of playing in the NBA. While I do think Anthony Davis would be quite good if he stayed in college another year or two do you think he would be "better" than he is now, having played against some of the best competition in the world for 2 years, by playing against inferior college competition? What about Andre Drummond? Let's look at the flip side Jeremy Lamb, Andrew Nicholson, and Miles Plumlee. All of them stayed in college for at least 2 years and none made significant contributions year 1. The thing that matters most is playing time, not how long you stayed in school. If you have the talent and are in the system to use it, it is better to come out earlier.

There is the money aspect as well and to tell someone they can stay in school and will make more money is intellectually dishonest. In the last 15 drafts has there been a top 5 prospect in one draft that went guaranteed #1 the next? I cannot recall one. But I can recall Willie Warren going in the second round 2010 instead of the first round in 2009 like he was projected. Noah went 9th instead of top 3 he was projected the year before, Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger both dropped (Sullinger from #1 or #2), Marcus Smart dropped this year. James Michael McAdoo will have cost himself something in the neighborhood of $10 MM to $14 MM in just Rookie compensation by not coming out in 2012 when he was a top 3 to 5 projected pick. This assumes he gets picked in the first round at all this or next year. Can anyone honestly say the value of an undergraduate education/degree is worth that? Telling someone they can't go after the chance of that borders on the insane. While some people are not prepared for it others are and to deny the group that is makes little sense.

Silver and teams get away with saying that is good for the game but Silver really works for the teams. Whatever they think is best for themselves is what he will be tasked to do. Every year you stay in school you cost yourself money and shorten your career if you were an elite HIGH SCHOOL prospect and play well enough to continue that to elite NBA prospect. Some people need the time to develop in college while other should do it in the NBA. The league should not just take that away from the people with no voice at the table.
@ jbrocato

Well, the tv deals are what drives revenue which is what allows the league a monopoly. So... that kind of was what I was implying.
@Iceman

Like all the first world countries? Oh wait...
i didn't say non existence of legislation i said too much legislation is not beneficial :D

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