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When Is It Too Early To Go Pro? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Basketball fans know that every June the National Basketball Association (NBA) holds its annual draft. That is when the leagues' teams choose college players to play for them. In the past couple of years, the number of underclassmen who have left school early has risen. Freshmen, sophomores and juniors have been entering the gates of the NBA with dollar signs in their eyes while ditching their final years of college.

That means there are nineteen and twenty-year-old millionaires. I don't think that makes a whole lot of sense. In this year's draft, out of the first twenty selections, only six were seniors. The first seven were underclassmen; the only senior in the top ten was the eighth pick. A high school senior even entered the draft. He was only seventeen at the time, and was picked thirteenth. Talk about weird?

The NBA has made one rule for the "rookies." They have issued a salary cap which limits them to a certain amount of money for one to three years. It's a start. They should make a rule that players need to be a certain age before entering the league. If not, next we will hear of kids skipping high school (and college) to play pro ball.

Most of the underclassmen who leave school say they want to help their families. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but when we hear it from five different guys we get the picture. I applause Juwan Howard of the Washington Bullets. Even though he entered the draft early, he graduated with his senior class on time while playing an 82-game season.

The important issue in early decision is that these athletes have not received an education. They may have lots of money, but they lack the knowledge one needs to be a citizen of the world. They lack the knowledge they need to be good mentors to their children. Also, they miss the wonderful times and friendships that college offers. The point of my article is that education is power. The more power one has, the more one will exceed in the real world, and that is what matters most. l


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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