Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Jeremy Tyler: High School Junior Basketball Phenom to Play Professionally in Europe
The NBA's one-and-done rule requires that a player be 19 years of age plus one year removed from high school (with "from high school" meaning having graduated from high school or one's class having graduated) in order to be eligible for the NBA draft. It's presumed that a player will attend college in that "one year removed" and save for Brandon Jennings, it's held true. Jennings, in contrast, has opted to play professionally in Italy while waiting to become eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft (he's likely going to be a top 10 pick). In addition to living in a rent-free luxury apartment in downtown Rome, among enjoying many other perks, Jennings is reportedly earning around $1 million this year, after tax, between basketball and endorsement income (in fact, he stands to earn more in endorsement income this year than any pick from the 2008 NBA Draft, save for the top three players selected, Michael Beasely, Derrick Rose, and O.J. Mayo).
Pete Thamel of the New York Times reports that high school junior Jeremy Tyler, thought to be the best young big man since Greg Oden, has also decided to play professionally in Europe. But Tyler plans to play in Europe a year earlier than his "one year removed." Indeed, he intends to spend what would be his senior year in high school playing professionally in Europe, most likely in Spain. Tyler's decision is consistent with the NBA's age limit, as his high school graduating class will graduate in June 2010 and thus Tyler will be eligible for the 2011 NBA Draft, where he's projected by some to be the top pick.
Tyler has apparently decided that he'd like to earn income off of his talents as soon as the market lets him, rather than waiting for an artificial two-year delay, during which time he could get hurt. Some may worry about whether Tyler's emotionally "ready" to turn pro, though I hope those same folks worried about Freddy Adu and Michelle Wie turning pro at younger ages, and I hope they are equally worried that many European pro players are younger than Tyler -- Danilo Gallinari, the Knicks' first round pick last year, was a pro in Europe at 15; fellow Celtics fans may remember Jiri Welsch, he too was a pro at 15 in Europe. Similarly, we don't hear people too concerned about Dakota Fanning and the Olson Twins and the many other child stars earning income off of their talents.
Here are a couple of excerpts from Thamel's story:
For the rest of Thamel's story, click here. For additional perspectives see The Week and Money Players.
For empirical research on high school players and the NBA Draft, see my law review article Illegal Defense: The Irrational Economics of Banning High School Players from the NBA Draft and my study NBA Players That Get in Trouble with the Law: Do Age and Education Level Matter? and my research on points/boards/assists as featured in ESPN The Magazine. Also be sure to see Alan Milstein's comments from a New York Law School sports law symposium a month ago about a Taylor-like situation happening and the legal fallout.