The Junior Basketball Association league is typically referred to by sport reporters and commentators as “pick up” basketball. Some people may disagree with this comparison, while others may think it’s a good description of the league. The league currently has 8 teams each with no more than 10 players ranging from age 17-19.
There are lots of pros and cons that come along with establishing a league with players at such a young age. First, let’s talk about how much money the players make. They’ve worked hard so it’s only right that they get something in return. Based on the contract signed by each player, they bring in a steady income of $3,000 per month. The crazy part is that some of these players are recent high school athletes now making more money than some WNBA players.
It may seem like a small amount of reimbursement for the young player’s efforts, but you have to remember that this is not the NBA. The reason why I suggest they get paid more is not due to the fact that they’re only getting $3,000, but because they have to pay for travel expenses out of their own pockets. If a player is traveling to another state because they have practice or a league game, why should they have to pay for their own ticket? That should be the JBA’s job. Their job should be to make sure their players get to wherever they need to be whether its a practice or a game.
Look at what happened to Brandon Phillips. Not only did he have to pay for his own plane ticket, but he didn’t even get paid his promised amount of money. Instead of getting paid $3,000, he only got paid $1,000. And when they told him they were going to reimburse him for the plane ticket at the end of the season, they even failed to do that. So to me, these players deserve much better than their getting.
And what about their education? Say a player gets hurt, there’s a chance their career could be over and they now have no education to fall back on. But, these are all things that should be taken into consideration when signing a JBA contract.
Now, I have to admit, there are some positives to being on the JBA that have enough pull to overlook the negatives. The team jerseys usually sell for about $80, and the players get 60% of the profits from each jersey that is sold which is not a bad percentage. So for example, if $10,000 is made from selling jerseys then that’s an extra $6,000 that the player gets in profit. So in a way, everything balances out. But that doesn’t mean that the JBA doesn’t have a lot of things that need to be improved. I still suggest that they pay their players to commute back and forth and pay them what they promise them. These high school aged players are now competing as professional players and they should be treated fairly.
It’ll be interesting to see how the league develops and what other opportunities arise in the future.