Get a driver’s license, play basketball, and bring home a six-figure salary.
Sports media company Overtime announced that it plans to start the Overtime Elite league for 16- to 18-year-olds as a nontraditional route to the NBA. Each of its 30 players would make at least $100,000 per year with full health care benefits and a tailored academic curriculum.
“OTE is leading the way on that front by offering players a comprehensive route that fully develops the athlete — not just basketball skills, but education, economic empowerment, and building their own brand,” said OTE investor and board member Carmelo Anthony. Kevin Durant and VC firm Andreessen Horowitz are investors as well.
Players will also receive shares of equity in Overtime, and earn revenue from the use of their name, image and likeness — a hot topic for college athletes in recent years.
The NBA changed its eligibility requirements in 2006, requiring incoming players to be at least 19 years old. No longer able to join the league after high school, many phenoms now play in college for one year. But OTE is not the first to rule out traditional collegiate play.
- G League Ignite launched just last year, hosting exhibition games with NBA prospects and veterans.
- Jalen Lecque and Anfernee Simons played in high school for five years, waiting to turn 19.
- Others, like LaMelo Ball and RJ Hampton, played overseas.
- LaMelo’s father, LaVar Ball, spearheaded the short-lived Junior Basketball Association as an NCAA alternative in 2017.
“We’re doing it based on the observation of how these young athletes are trying to change the system and make it work for them,” said CEO Dan Porter.
Overtime Elite starts in September in an undisclosed city.