Skip to main content

Tracy McGrady's take on the NBA's rookie age limit — "I stand by it because the league has become so young"

T-Mac explained there's a reason why the Warriors and Heat will keep Iguodala and Haslem around for as long as they want to.
Tracy McGrady

Tracy McGrady

NBA Hall-of-Famer Tracy McGrady is one of the few notable players who arrived in the league straight from high school. McGrady, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Garnet, and Dwight Howard didn’t play a single minute of college basketball, yet they all found great success in the NBA.

But as the game evolved over time, the league noticed there were too many young players in the NBA hence why they implemented draft eligibility rules in 2006.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Veterans versus young bloods

For as much as McGrady would like to support players taking the same trajectory as him, the 7-time All-Star also agrees that the league has become too young. McGrady acknowledged that the NBA had reached a point where teams no longer rely on veteran leadership and experience. The risk of depending on young bloods is that their game still needs a lot of polishing, affecting the basketball product.

The reason why I stand for a year or two now is that the league is so young. I look at some of these teams that are really good but I think they are lacking a true veteran. There’s a reason why Andre Iguodala is still with the Golden State Warriors and may still be on that bench next year, and probably won’t even play a minute. There’s a reason why Udonis Haslem is still in Miami and doesn’t get any playing time but he’s on that bench with a uniform. There’s a reason for that and we need those types of guys around. This league is so young now. Your vets are what, 23 years old?” McGrady said in his recent appearance at The Alex Kennedy Podcast.

A fair compromise

The average age in the NBA stands at 26.18 years old, including a mix of veteran players and rookie to sophomore ones. The latest NBA draft rules (regarding age) state that players must at least be 19-year-old during the draft calendar and rendered a minimum of one season after graduating high school. Yes, that’s the reason why LeBron James will have to wait one more season if he wants to team up with his son Bronny James Jr. who is expected to graduate high school in 2023.

Ultimately, the league’s solution to improving its product is to ensure that players who declare for the NBA Draft are experienced enough to compete in the pros. After all, the likes of McGrady, Bryant, James, Garnet, and Howard don’t come around often. 

American actor Ben Stiller

“I’ll be in my mid-60s by the time this team rebuilds” - Ben Stiller on being a New York Knicks fan

Stiller summed up the experience of being a Knicks fan: “Who would want this pain? Who would want to feel that frustration?”

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

The difference between Michael Jordan's and LeBron James' diet and workout regime

Michael Jordan and LeBron James' diets are similar to each other but the way they recover and workout is different.

Boston Celtics forward Larry Bird

"Score meant very little, but a lot of talking going on, a lot of fun." - Larry Bird learned trash-talking from black men working at a local hotel

In the process, Bird developed a genuine off-the-court relationship with most of them, particularly a guy whom he called “Slim.”

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant

Brian Windhorst on Kevin Durant potentially holding out — “I can see it. That’s what we’re headed towards”

Several recent developments turned Durant's potential holdout from unlikely to very possible.

Brandon Jennings

Brandon Jennings goes off on the state of the NBA - “It’s only a couple of guys in the NBA that love the game”

Jennings' opinions are certainly divisive, but it's clear that without change the NBA would get stale, and that's why it's necessary to continue exploring ways to evolve the game

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan’s secret tattoo and the meaning behind it revealed

It's barely visible and not something MJ liked to talk about.

Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan

Zach Snyder on directing Michael Jordan in "Playground" — “He’s a natural.”

One went on to make Space Jam, the other 300, Justice League, Army of the Dead, Man of Steel, Watchmen, and Dawn of the Dead. Two great movie careers, starting in 1990.