In a 2005 interview, Michael Jordan was revealed to be a firm believer in the fact that players should be 20 years old or older before going to the pros.
Michael Jordan is considered to be one of the best basketball players ever. The Chicago Bulls shooting guard is one of the most accomplished athletes in the whole of sports, with a flawless resume – 6 championships, 6 Finals MVPs, 5 MVPs, 14 All-Star selections and 11 All-NBA selections.
Clearly, His Airness found some great success during his 15 year NBA career. However, he was also terrific in his three years at the University of North Carolina. During his stint at UNC, Mike led the Tar Heels to a national championship in only his first year, while breaking several records.
Jordan famously chose to spend three whole seasons at college before declaring for the draft at the age of 21. Several analysts still believe that MJ could’ve easily been a lottery pick if he had chosen to go pro immediately after his freshman or sophomore season. However, in an interview, Michael revealed his true opinions on the idea of a one-and-done player.
“I’m a firm believer that a player should be 20 years or older before going pro”: Michael Jordan
Back in 2005, in an interview with Cigar Aficionado, the GOAT gave his honest opinions about players going pro at a young and tender age.
Marvin R. Shanken asked MJ: “Are these early exits from college good or bad for the NBA?”
“That depends, too. I’m a firm believer that a player should be 20 years old or older before going to the pros. Anything less than that is potentially bad. You’ve got a lot of things you have to take into consideration.”
“The lifestyle. Just the mental and physical demands of the NBA that these kids are going to be dealing with are tough. And their whole maturity level, not only for basketball but on the personal side, too, has to be taken into account.”
“If I had been a freshman or even a sophomore, no matter how good I was, I don’t know if I would have been ready for what I had to deal with in the professional ranks. But you got more and more young guys doing it. I am a firm believer that something is affected by leaving college early, or not going to college at all.”
“As an NBA executive, if you have to invest in a player, you want to see more of the product that you are going to invest in. Since you aren’t going to see as many games [of those leaving school early] to be able to gauge the maturity of these guys’ basketball talent, you’re rolling the dice. You are gambling. If you don’t gamble right, you’re going to be set back two or three years.”
“Now how does it affect the colleges? Look at North Carolina. You have to rebuild that team. You’ve almost got to start up again with all new players.”
“But the impact is even spreading down into the high school ranks. Kids there are not really looking at academics. They just want to get good. If they can’t get into a college, the first thing they’re going to say is, Well, I’m going to go pro. That may not be the best thing for them. So this trend trickles down all the way into high school.”