In light of reports by The Athletic’s Shams Charania suggesting the NBA will consider allowing players to be drafted straight from high school, it’s time to take a walk down memory lane. Throughout NBA history, eligibility rules have been changed and changed frequently.
The last change, however, came in 2005, when the minimum age of 19 was declared through the league’s updated Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The league is beginning its approach to a retirement date for its current CBA, which will expire at the conclusion of the 2023-24 NBA season.
The NBA is considering allowing 18-year-olds to enter the draft outside of high school.
Modifications to the CBA will pave the way for many changes to the league’s structure, including an updated salary cap, updated mental health guidelines, and the potential return of players drafted straight from high school as long as they are 18 or older.
Before looking at who’s to come, it’s important to look at those who paved the way for this rising talent in hopes of making that leap. We start with the first player to waive his college eligibility and make the leap to the NBA hoops.
Note that only players who were drafted into the NBA will be included, meaning those who jumped from high school to the ABA before the merger are not being considered.