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Question of the day: Should the NBA follow Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s advice and up the minimum age in the NBA to 21 years old?

May 14, 2010 |  7:52 am

Kareem_240 Reporters from around the Tribune family tackle the question of the day, then you get a chance to leave a comment and tell them why they are wrong.

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel

Sure. And the league should reduce the schedule to a more manageable 50 games, get salaries under control, bring back fifty-cent hotdogs and enforce traveling rules. Pollyanna has left the building. And the peach basket is not coming back.

Next thing you know, Kareem will start espousing how fans should prefer the sky hook to the slam dunk. 

Just pushing the limit to 19 was a monumental challenge, and in the midst of negotiations for a new collective-bargaining agreement, the league and union have far greater concerns (read: dollars).

The one thing the Kobes and LeBrons and Garnetts have shown is maturity has far more components than chronological age.

Put it this way, Michael Beasley turned 21 this past January. Would you define him as the portrait of maturity?

Updated at 9:37 a.m.

Brian Schmitz, Orlando Sentinel

Uh, Kareem, that's a groovy idea. You must have thought of that while relaxing in a hot-tub time machine.
 
If you can get the NBA to agree to a 21-year-old minimum age requirement, can you push to bring back 8-track tapes, My Three Sons and pay phones?
 
I'm all for it, even though I've had the pleasure of watching Dwight Howard play in the league since he was, what, 14?
 
Kareem is right: It makes so much sense to bring more fully formed adults into the league.  The current age limit is 19, turning college basketball into a one-and-done halfway house.
 
The reality? Can't ever see the league requiring two forms of ID to prove you're 21. Despite having enough knuckleheads to baby-sit, David Stern witnessed what the birth of baby LeBron meant to the NBA at 18. (And it was good.) 

Updated at 12:03 p.m.

Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times

Sorry, Kareem.

Even Coach K - Mike Krzyzewski - is not with you on this one, and we should all be guided in life by the greater wisdom and vision of Duke’s coach.

It may sound high-minded and the right thing to do but you simply cannot turn back the clock, limiting the rights of an individual to earn a living. (All of us can just envision a posse of lawyers ready and willing to take on that challenge.)

Just think about those who made the leap to the NBA straight out of high school: Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James and Kevin Garnett, and how Laker history might have been rewritten had Kobe actually played for Coach K.

Of course, there are many more cautionary tales, sad sagas of those who not only failed to navigate the process smoothly but stumbled and failed.

But there’s a significant big difference between the jump right out of high school, and making, as Abdul-Jabbar suggested, the minimum age in the NBA, 21.

And by the way, what did Kobe do at age 21? He won his first championship ring with the Lakers.

In his fourth NBA season. Or you could call it his senior year.

 Photo: Kareem Abdul-Jabar. Credit: Jeff Robbins / Associated Press.

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