The NBA has a monopoly on the industry of professional basketball in the United States. Attempted rival leagues (ABA, woman’s leagues, CBA) have been crushed by the NBA and no longer exist. There is one very large American ‘amateur’ league, NCAA collegiate basketball.
Despite many billions of dollars in revenue from TV contracts, this college league is considered amateur because their main workers (players) do not get paid. In fact, their revenue is higher because they will not allow the players to make money elsewhere, like selling clothes with their own name or sponsorships. The players still do that work, but they cannot profit of it – their employers can. These financial restrictions are illegal and immoral, by my understanding.
The NBA has always tried to keep the NCAA happy, and did so again last year by banning all players in their 1st year out of high school. I need to repeat that fact because it is so astonishing how brazen they are about lawbreaking. The NBA, using their monopoly, bans players who are of legal age from making any money in their chosen profession, solely based on age discrimination. If this rule were around when many top players came out of high school to the NBA (Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, LeBron James, etc) it would have cost them millions of dollars, and would have risked much more for them.
This week, there have been allegations that OJ Mayo, one of the top High School basketball players prior to playing 1 season with USC (NCAA), may have only received $30,000 plus gifts while being a star ‘amateur’ basketball player – even though he would have made millions of dollars on the open market.
The NCAA and mainstream media are very angry that this young talented player, who made so much money for his employer, should make a little money. Strangely missing from these arguments is that the NBA forced him illegally into this position, or that his pay was illegally restricted by a multi billion dollar enterprise, NCAA Basketball. Insulting OJ only rubs it in.
I hope OJ Mayo sues the NBA and NCAA for the money they prevented him from earning. Perhaps a class action lawsuit by all the top high school basketball players would be the trick to getting the players paid. Then, after we hopefully win that, maybe we can work on all the grad students who make money for their schools through patents and research without appropriate payments. It may not work, being right is unfortunately only a small part of the battle, but we won’t know until we try.
Demar DeRozan, BJ Mullens, Brandon Jennings, Al-Farouq Aminu, and the rest who have another year of high risk because of the NBA and NCAA -you may have to work now to recoup those potential losses.