Congressman Misses Point About NBA Age Limit

If there is one thing members of Congress and the NBA have in common, it’s an understanding of marketing, and timing.

Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen, a Democrat, sent a letter to NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBA Players Union head Billy Hunter asking them to explain the age rule. He said in the letter that this was more about the financial well being of some universities than it was about basketball.

It was no accident that he sent (and leaked) that letter right at the start of the NBA Finals. So that media, hungry for stories, would ask Stern about it.In the process, Cohen grabs some headlines.

Except Stern is really good at this game.

Stern noted that Congress has an age limit --  25 years old for the House of Representatives -- which the founding fathers instated because  making decisions that could affect a nation requires a certain level of maturity and wisdom.

Stern then talked about needing a certain level of basketball maturity before you play at the highest level of the sport.

Frankly, maturity has almost nothing to do with the age limit. Mostly the requirement is in place becasue weary owners want to see their potential multi-million dollar investments play a year in college (or the D-League or Europe) so they can avoid draft busts. Avoiding draft busts saves owners money.

And anything that saves the owners money is not going away.

Cohen misses the point about the NCAA — sure some big time programs benefit from the one and dones, but that’s ancillary to the NBA. It’s about the money. It’s always about the money.

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