SAN ANTONIO -- When commissioner David Stern announced the
NBA's minimum age had been raised from 18 to 19, he was being
overly simplistic and inaccurate.
Under terms of the new six-year collective bargaining agreement,
there could still be 18-year-olds playing in the NBA.
Previous eligibility rules stated that American players could
not become draft-eligible until their high school class graduated --
wording that allowed some players to enter the league at 17.
The new rules mandate players to wait one year after their
high-school class graduates, meaning that players born in November
or December could be appear in NBA games prior to their 19th
birthday -- provided they graduated at 17.
Rules for international players also changed. Previously, a
foreign-born player needed to turn 18 before the draft.
Under the new rules (which will not affect this year's draft
next Tuesday in New York), international players must turn 19 by
the end of the calendar year in which they become draft eligible --
again leaving a two-month window in which an 18-year-old might be
playing in the NBA.