In the 2021 NBA Draft 2 of the top 10 picks, Jalen Green(No.2) and Jonathan Kuminga(No.7), skipped the traditional path to the pros. Instead of playing College hoops before entering the league, the 2 young superstars decided to play with Team Ignite in the NBA G-League. This option only recently became available to recruits and offers a more professional experience. The experiment is considered to be a success with both Green and Kuminga being such high draft picks. Now another league, Overtime Elite(OTE), is creating a new path that offers players that same professional experience prior to the NBA.
The new league will take place in a single location, which has not been named yet and will comprise 30 of the top basketball prospects in the country. Each player will be making a 6 figure salary and will be able to profit off of their name, image, and likeness as well as to sign their own sneaker deals.
After spending time with many top recruits and their families, the founders of Overtime, Aaron Ryan, Zack Weiner, Dan Porter, and Brandon Williams, discovered the 3 main flaws of the current amateur Basketball scene. Those 3 flaws were basketball development, education, and economic empowerment. Overtime believe that they will be able to address these with far more effective than the current model.
To help address Basketball development, OTE will provide extensive Basketball operations led by NBA champion Brandon Williams. By keeping the field of talent to 30 players, the league will be able to provide more personalized and in-depth coaching. OTE athletes will compete against one another as well as some of the top prospects from around the world. The players will have access to state-of-the-art facilities staffed by coaches, executives, and performance personnel with over 30 years of experience in the NBA as well as nutrition, fitness, and sports science experts.
For education, students will receive personal and small group classroom-style instruction. Education around financial literacy, media training, mental health, and social justice advocacy will be included as part of the curriculum to help equip players with the tools they will need to succeed off the court as professional athletes. OTE is working with school principles and highly regarded tutors to help create a unique curriculum for the players.
Perhaps the area in which OTE rises the most above the competition is in compensation. Not only will each athlete receive a minimum salary of $100,000 and additional bonuses, but they will also receive a stake in Overtime. Overtime athletes will also receive full health and disability insurance. In addition to this, should an athlete choose not to pursue a professional Basketball career, Overtime will guarantee payment of up to $100,000 to go towards that student’s college tuition.
Alternative options to the traditional route such as the G-league, overseas Basketball, and now OTE have put a lot of pressure on the NCAA. Undoubtedly these programs are greatly responsible for the recent NIL changes in college sports. The NCAA will need to continue to find new ways to show athletes that they can still provide a fruitful path to the pros.