In 2005, when the NBA established a rule that required all high-school ballers to play at least one season in college before entering the league, I wasn't all for it.
Why stop a kid talented enough to play in the NBA from realizing his dream and helping his family out as soon as possible? Several guys have done successfully, most notably, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, and Lebron James, but as time passed and rule did it's job, I became a fan.
Forgive my generalization, but kids today (myself included) have this unwarranted sense of entitlement that borders on disturbing sometimes. The lack of respect for elders, and rules can be alarming as well as disappointing. This is why the "one-and-done" rule exists.
Players like Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jordan were never forced to go to college. That's just what you did. But at some point in the mid-nineties, kids started realizing they could jump right from high school to the league and make serious cash. There was no longer a need to go to school. As long as you could ball and you could get paid, why waste time learning, right?
That way of thinking led to several players over the last 20 years to try their hand at professional basketball shortly after graduation, and not so coincidentally, led to plenty of quick NBA burnouts.
One of the last few to get in the league before the "one-and-done" rule began was Magic center Dwight Howard. Howard was the number one overall pick in 2004, at the fresh age of 18. Howard made the jump to the league look easy, averaging a double-double, and nearly two blocks a game as a rookie, and instantly he was a star.
You see his smile, his charismatic personality, and it was impossible not to like him. He did all the right things, said all the right things, he was Superman, but then something happened.
Now in no way am I saying Dwight is a bad person. Never have I seen something from him that would suggest that. But when Howard realized he wasn't going to get over the hump in Orlando, he wanted out. Still, nothing wrong with that, but much like James, the way he has conducted his business has been questionable at best.
Howard demanded a trade, attempted to get his coach fired, then all of a sudden had a change of heart, and opted in to the final year of his contract for the 2012-13 season. It seemed like it was going to end there, but this past week Bizarro Superman has reared his ugly head once again.
Howard has once again demanded a trade, and this time he wants to take legal action against the Magic, claiming he was blackmailed into opting into the final year of his contract.
Had he gone to college would this have happened? That's impossible to tell, but there's no doubt Howard has acted immaturely throughout this process, and who knows what kind of impact going to school would've had on him.
I know I'm a different person than I was as an 18-year-old going into school, and maybe if he was forced to go for that one year he would've really liked it and decided to stay. Regardless, going to school for one year forces some responsibilities on these kids who are physically pro-ready coming out of high school, and if Howard had to spend one year in school, maybe none of this would be happening.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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