It should not surprise you to learn that Kobe Bryant, who did not spend one minute in a college classroom as a scholarship athlete, believes college basketball is not necessary for many players to earn their keep in the NBA.
It's not a groundbreaking opinion, but given the mouth it's coming from, it's of course notable. And also fairly strong. Bryant outright dismisses college basketball as a teaching tool for any player good enough to be a first-round draft pick, essentially. Let's go to the transcription of what he says above.
“I don't really look at it from that perspective of what was good for the game of basketball,” Kobe says in the LakersNation.com video above. “I think the reality is there's been a lot of players who've come out of high school. If you do the numbers and you look at the count, you'll probably see players who came out of high school that were much more successful on average than players who went to college for a year, or two, or however long. It seems like the system really isn't teaching players anything, if you go to college. If you go to college, you play, you showcase, and you come to the pros. Well, that's always been the big argument, as a player you have to go to college, you have to develop your skills and so forth and so on, and then you come to the league. So, we kind of got sold on that dream a little bit. Fortunately, I didn't really listen much to it. Neither did [Kevin Garnett]. Neither did LeBron. I think that worked out pretty well for all three of us."
He was then asked if he'd like to see the rule go back to what it was, for high school seniors to leave immediately for the NBA.
“I'm always a firm believer in us being able to make our own decisions, especially as it pertains to going out and working and having a job. You should be able to go out there and make your own choices.”
Coincidentally, Bryant just took in some college hoops action in person on Wednesday night. He attended Duke-Miami, as did LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
It's not the NCAA that's preventing current college stars/possible future NBA studs like Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle from leaping straight from high school to the NBA Draft. The NBA's collective bargaining agreement has had this rule in place for nearly a decade now, and outgoing commissioner David Stern has said before he wishes it was two years instead of just one.
We'll see if succeeding commish Adam Silver spearheads any change on this front. But as is, the CBA and this rule will remain in place, minimally, until July of 2017.