SPORTS

Phil Jackson: NBA needs to raise age limit

February 20, 2014

The NBA needs to make a change to its current age limit, Phil Jackson suggested Wednesday on SiriusXM NBA Radio.

According to Jackson, one-and-done college players enter the league without receiving a proper education, and their pro careers suffer as a result.

“What happens is kids don’t end up going to school,” Jackson said. “They end up enrolling in classes, maybe going for one semester, and then they skip the second semester. Their team’s going to be in the tournament, they’ll quit schooling … So they’re never students.

“Being a student helps you learn,” Jackson continued, “and it helps you learn to become a basketball player, also, that you can be taught how to play. So we end up having a lot of guys come in the league that don’t have good learning skills – learning disabled.”

Jackson then discussed the career trajectories of a quartet of stars that went straight from high school to the pros, before the NBA enacted its current age limit: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady.

There are a few players that can make that step – LeBron, and obviously Kobe. [...] LeBron was right up there right away because of his tremendous talent, but he still had a hard time learning defense. Kobe took a couple years. Garnett was in Minnesota, we didn’t really see how he developed, although I was in that same conference and got to see him a lot. He had never really developed a post-up move, and then he did, which was a great thing to see as he grew into maturity. We’ve had just a limited number of players that have been able to do it. The disappointment we have – Tracy McGrady, who is one of the great players who never really got around to maximizing his talent. Although he could go on tremendous runs, he never really had the total package.