Commissioner Adam Silver said tonight that the NBA should consider changing its minimum age limit. In his annual state-of-the-league address as part of All-Star weekend, Silver said the issue “needs to be studied more,” relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com.
He told reporters that players association Executive Director Michele Roberts agrees that the current minimum of 19 years old may need to be altered. No changes were made to the age requirement in the latest collective bargaining agreement that was agreed upon in December. That document takes effect July 1st, and neither side can opt out before the end of the 2022/23 season.
Silver said the issue may need to be addressed “outside of the bright lights of collective bargaining.”
“I think both of us, while our traditional positions have been the league would like to raise the minimum age from 19 to 20, and at least Michele’s stated position is that she’d like to lower it from 19 to 18, I think there’s an acknowledgement that the issue is far more complex than that,” Silver said. “And it requires sort of all the constituent groups to be at the table.
“And I will say — and maybe it’s a little bit of a different position from my standpoint — I think rather than standing here and saying league’s goal is to get from 19 to 20, I think I have a better understanding of the issue now as well as I talk to some of the young players who are coming into our league who have only completed a portion of their freshman year in college and have a better understanding of what the conditions are for them both academically and in terms of their basketball requirements.”
There were some other highlights from Silver’s speech:
- Charlotte will be considered as a future All-Star Game host. This year’s game was moved to New Orleans because the league wanted to register its opposition to North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which limits anti-discrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Silver said Charlotte may be given the 2019 game if the law is changed.
- The league will continue to monitor inclusivity when awarding events such as the All-Star Game. Texas is considering a similar proposal that would prevent transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice. “Our values, our league-wide values in terms of equality and inclusion are paramount to this league and all the members of the NBA family, and I think those jurisdictions that are considering legislation similar to HB2 are on notice that that is an important factor for us,” Silver said. “Those values are an important factor for us in deciding where we take a special event like an All-Star Game.”
- The commissioner was disappointed that he wasn’t able to resolve the feud between Charles Oakley and James Dolan. Silver said the Knicks owner invited Oakley back to Madison Square Garden, but the former player hasn’t accepted. “The fan in me and someone who’s known Charles for a long time — I hope at some point he does return to Madison Square Garden,” Silver said. “But ultimately, that’s his decision.”