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NBPA general counsel says union will fight to lower minimum age in next CBA

Adam Silver

Adam Silver


Get ready to hear a lot about the age minimum between now and 2017. The NBA has already made it clear that they’re in favor of raising it from 19 to 20, which has been met with strong opposition from the players’ union. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said the league needs to “be happy with one-and-done.” Now, the union’s general counsel, Gary Kohlman, is taking it one step further, hinting that the NBPA will fight to get the minimum age lowered back to 18, where it was until 2005.

Via the Associated Press:

“If they were white and hockey players they would be out there playing. If they were white and baseball players they would be out there playing,” Kohlman said. “Because most of them are actually African-American and are in a sport and precluded from doing it, they have to go into this absurd world of playing for one year.

“That’s just total complete hypocrisy.”

It makes sense for the union to take this stance as a starting point for negotiations, to counter the league’s insistence that the minimum is raised. And the NBPA’s argument that the minimum age is denying players the right to work when they’re adults is a compelling one. But the NBA has their own reasons—namely, more mature players coming in—for wanting it raised.

In 2017, when the next CBA is negotiated, money won’t be the issue. The league has plenty of that coming in from the new television deal. The sticking point, more than likely, will be the age limit. And both sides are digging in.

Get ready for a long lockout.