The general consensus among those in the basketball world is that by 2024, high school basketball stars will have the option to skip college and go straight to the NBA.
Overtime, a multimedia sports brand, is speeding up the process for high school athletes to play professionally while they prepare for that opportunity, announcing the launch of its own basketball league, Overtime Elite (OTE) this fall.
The league will commence in September and feature 30 elite prospects, who have yet to be named, from ages 16-18 competing against each other.
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The major selling point for OTE is that athletes will earn a guaranteed minimum salary of at least $100,000 plus bonuses and equity in Overtime. OTE athletes will also receive full healthcare and disability benefits, and if an athlete decides not to pursue a professional basketball career, Overtime will pay up to $100,000 for college tuition.
The players who compete in the OTE will forfeit their ability to play high school or college basketball.
As it stands, elite prospects have two professional options should they decide to bypass college: The NBA G League or abroad.
Last year, SI All-American Player of the Year Jalen Green signed with the G League for $500,000.
Carmelo Anthony, who sits on OTE’s board of directors along with Jay Williams, Dan Porter, Zack Weiner and Aaron Ryan, said the league would benefit players “both on and off the court.”
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“Many athletes aren’t properly prepared for what it really means to go pro,” Anthony said in a statement. “Having this type of guidance for high school players is critical in setting them up for a successful career.”
The single site for the OTE has yet to be determined.
In addition to competing on the court, players will receive an education from instructors in small group sessions featuring a 4:1 student-teacher ratio from a curriculum which includes financial literacy, mental health and social justice advocacy and media training.
“OTE offers the next generation of basketball talent what they have long deserved: a path that respects their value and honors their potential, as players and as people,” said Weiner, Overtime’s president and co-founder. “Paying basketball players isn’t radical. What’s radical is telling people who put in thousands of hours of work that they have to do it for free.”