Last week the NBA announced that they would be hiring 17-year veteran Rod Strickland to lead the G-League’s professional path program.
“We will have former players and former G League players to guide [the pro path players],” Strickland told ESPN. “We want to help them in everyday life, like balancing a checkbook, understanding what’s out there — and how not to get caught up in the wrong things. Just like with a college kid, we will put in place a structure to help guide them through it all.”
Earlier this year the leagued announced that it would be implementing an option for elite high school players to avoid attending college for a season before entering the NBA draft. The League will offer “Select Contracts” worth $125,000 to the top high school prospects that choose not to attend college. This is a move that could challenge the monopoly that the NCAA has on its elite talent.
The program will go into effect during the summer of 2019. It will allow players who are 18 years of age, but not a year removed from high school, but not eligible to enter the NBA Draft to develop their craft in the developmental league.
The G League will target recent or would-be high school graduates who otherwise would have likely spent just one season playing college basketball, enticing them not only with a six-figure salary but also the opportunity to benefit from NBA infrastructure, as well as a bevy of off-court development programs “geared toward facilitating and accelerating their transition to the pro game,” league president Malcolm Turner told ESPN.
Allowing the potential NBA prospects control their likeness and capitalize on their brand visibility.
“We appreciate the NBA’s decision to provide additional opportunities for those who would like to pursue their dream of playing professionally,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “The NCAA recently implemented significant reforms to support student-athlete success, including more flexibility when deciding whether to play professionally.
“Obtaining a college education continues to provide unmatched preparation for success in life for the majority of student-athletes and remains an excellent path to professional sports for many. However, this change provides another option for those who would prefer not to attend college but want to directly pursue professional basketball.”
last month, I had to had to speak with both NBA Owner Mark Cuban and Maverick great about the recent G-League announcement.
“If we are going to let players come out of high school, we need to do it in a way that allows us to educate, and support them. So, they can adapt to the life of being a professional athlete. I don’t care if you are going to work for Target, Microsoft, or Google there is an adjustment, and they provide the resources to help you adjust. It is even more difficult in professional sports because you are traveling and you are with a limited group of players. So, with the new program that we are implementing it will also enable life skills and educational training. I think that is a necessity and the difference,” Cuban told me.
“I think is fantastic when you have the opportunity to expand. No one wants these young kids coming in without having the option for themselves in school and playing in the league. I think the new rule is fantastic because it gives a kid that is developed and ready to come in and learn the techniques need to play on the NBA level. It also allows them the opportunity to weigh their options accordingly, whether that is going overseas, but the G-league is an option to keep them here. Giving them the understanding of what is happening in this league and develope side of it. Depending on their talent level it will allow them to transition into a system that they are familiar with in the NBA.” Blackman told me.
“I am in love with the process because the critical factor is that we have to find a place for all of these kids, who are talented and think they at the next level. Also, be aware of the rules regarding them being able to go back to school if things do not work out.”
last night (11-24-18) Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics were in town facing the Dallas Mavericks, and I had the opportunity to speak with Irving and get his thoughts on his godfather’s new position with the G-League.
“I’m happy for him. He loves the game, unbelievable player one of the most underrated point guards’ to ever play our game ( Rod Strickland). “Bad Boy“ and I am glad to have him as my godfather,“ Irving told me.