The NBA and Legal Issues 

Kobe Bryant Joins Disturbing Trend

Kobe Bryant Joins Disturbing Trend
By Keith Dobkowski
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What do Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Rasheed Wallace, Jason Kidd, Kwame Brown, Stephon Marbury, Eddie Griffen, Jermaine O'neal, DeShawn Stevenson, Jason Richardson, Joe Smith, Jerry Stackhouse, Chris Webber, Ron Mercer and Chancy Billups all have in common?

They are all NBA stars. Some have been all-stars. One won and MVP. Another has won three championships. However, none spent more than two years in college. And all have arrest records. Ranging from Rape to Drug Possession to Domestic Battery, all of the above have had problems with the law.

In comparison, what do NBA stars Tim Duncan, Keith Van Horn, Jamal Mcgloire, Kenyon Martin, Andre Miller, Wally Szczerbiak, Steve Nash, Corlis Williamson, Brent Barry, Michael Finley, Alonzo Morning, Doug Christie and Allan Houston have in common?

Many have been all-stars. One has won two MVPs and two championships. They are first team all-NBA players, all defensive team players, top picks and slam dunk champions. None have been arrested and all graduated college.

There is a disturbing trend in the NBA and it is not limited to Kobe Bryant and his upcoming rape trial. Bryant, drafted directly out of high school, has now joined the likes of Jason Kidd, Allen Iverson and other underclassmen who have had problems with the law.

My research proves that since 1992, the year Shaquille O'Neal, Alonzo Morning and Christian Laetner entered the league, through 2001, when Kwame Brown became the first high school player to be drafted number one, a great disparity in arrest rates exists between college graduates and early entrants.

The research is limited to first round American groomed players, meaning that Tim Duncan, though born outside of the United States, was included in the research. However, Gilbert Arenas, the first pick of the second round in 2001 and recently arrested for gun possession, was not.

Of all players drafted directly out of high school during this time period and under the research guidelines, an amazing 46% have been arrested. The crimes included DUIs, Rape and disorderly conduct.

Players going to the NBA after just one year of college have been arrested at a 21% clip. Sophomore's have been arrested at a 46% rate. While percentages show that leaving college after three years creates a 40% chance of being arrested.

However, the rate drops significantly for college graduates. A mere 14% were arrested during the same time period and under the same research guidelines.

So whats the solution?

The NBA should adopt a policy that is reflective of what the remainder of American society faces. Bachelor's degree or three years experience. So give high schoolers a choice and offer them the rigors of a college education or the experience of the minor (ABA, CBA, NBDL) or European leagues. Requiring three years of experience would also allow foreign players to come here without having to earn a bachelor's degree.

An alternative plan would be to follow the lines of many major corporations in the United States. Offer compensation benefits based off educational achievements. A doctorate earns more than a bachelors and which earns more than a diploma. The guaranteed contracts offered to first round picks should include educational bonuses.

If a change is not mandated, NBA Mug Shots will continue to be a common occurrence.

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