I’m not alone, in that, I prefer college basketball to professional basketball. The NBA just isn’t as competitive while March Madness contains endless busted brackets and excitement. However in recent years the NBA has brought back and revamped a developmental league sponsored by Gatorade, called the G League. The league offers a paid alternative to college basketball. The base salary is $35000 for a five month season ranging from October and ending in March.
On Thursday, the G League announce the creation of a professional path. This path would grant select players contracts up of $125000. These players would primarily be 18 year old high school students who are not yet eligible for for the NBA. Though there are technically no age limits, player could not have gone through the NBA draft process. Players under the select contract will be put on a professional path. This professional pathway will bar the player from being called up to the NBA midseason. Instead they will be featured in the following NBA draft.
Playing in the G League comes with less fame, but playing at a higher level of basketball with a pathway to being drafted in the NBA all while being paid six figures to play is in most cases the economical decision to make. After all, a degree can be obtained later in life. In the mean time, there is only so many years of being able to monetize a professional basketball career.
The G League by no means will be able to take in the volume of athletes that the NCAA can take in, nor will the NCAA upend its rigid rules regarding amateurism. However the G League does stand to take top talent from the NCAA and undermine the recruitment efforts of its affiliates. It’s a well crafted move by the NBA who would rather have their developmental program look more like Major League Baseball’s minor league system rather than the National Football League’s dependence of college athletes. However even the development of professional football players is getting upended with the launch of the Alliance of American Football or AAF after the upcoming Superbowl. With stories like Nick Bosa, the NCAA has far more to worry about when it comes to its grip on elite developmental athletes.