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  Thu, February 12, 2004


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Stern's age-limit hopes take a hit

By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

Raptors rookie centre Chris Bosh thinks the NBA should learn a lesson from the Maurice Clarett controversy.

"If you try to put an age limit on when someone can play pro sports, somebody always is going to challenge it," the 19-year-old Bosh said. "You'll be in court all the time."

It's not that Bosh is against an age limit in theory. He just doesn't believe there's any way it can stand up legally, and his thoughts seemingly have been backed up by recent developments in the Clarett case.

Last week a U.S. federal judge ruled that Clarett, a star running back who played one collegiate football season at Ohio State before being banned for accepting illegal benefits and lying to investigators about it, is eligible for the NFL draft in April.

The ruling flies in the face of an NFL bylaw which states a player must be three years removed from high school before he's eligible for the draft.

The NFL has said it will appeal, but the way the winds are blowing, it's looking less likely NBA commissioner David Stern will achieve his goal of setting an age minimum for his league, presumably 19 or 20.

Despite Stern's considerable influence, he has been a voice crying in the wilderness. The players' association is against the concept, as are many other powerful figures at the NBA's ownership and managerial levels.

"The reason I'm in favour of an age limit is not because young players can't play," Stern said last week. "In fact, we could put an all-star team together with our young players. But I just feel a little diminished focusing on kids who are 10 or 11 years old, and who are thinking they're going to be the next Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James. I think it's better for them to stay in school."

Part of the problem American-based pro leagues face is that their rules essentially were written for Americans only, as the concepts are based on the U.S. high school and college systems. The regulations were conceived at a time when an influx of foreigners seemed unthinkable.

Had there been a cutoff point of age 20 in the NBA last spring, Bosh still would be at Georgia Tech.

"One more year of college wouldn't have been bad," Bosh said. "It wouldn't have killed me. I don't think it would kill many people. College is great. It's just an extra year of experience and you have no choice but to get better.

"The only way an age limit possibly could work is if it's the same in every pro sport, across the board. Some sports are more physical than others, so that can affect how appropriate it is for a young guy to be involved.

"But even with that, whenever somebody comes along who is good enough to play at the next level, no matter what their age is, they're going to challenge it."

ODDS AND ENDS: New Orleans Hornets public-relations employee Harold Kaufman had a unique way of telling Hornets centre and Toronto native Jamaal Magloire he had been selected to play in the all-star game. Kaufman approached Magloire and said, "I have some bad news." Magloire stiffened. "You won't be able to spend all-star weekend in Toronto," Kaufman said. Then he paused and added, "Because you're going to Los Angeles. You made it." ... Rasheed Wallace, who was traded to the Atlanta Hawks from the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday and is earning $17 million US in the final year of his contract, has his priorities straight. "At the end of the day, someone is going to cut that cheque," Wallace said recently when asked about his future. "It doesn't matter if it's Team A, Team B or Team C. Someone is going to cut it. I'm not worried about signing somewhere." Good luck, Hawks ... Trade rumours involving Doug Christie of the Sacramento Kings have rattled his high-profile wife Jackie. "We would be so disappointed," she told The Sacramento Bee. "But I don't like what I'm hearing." As cold as it is in Toronto, there has been no word on hell freezing over, so the Christies likely won't be headed back to the Raptors.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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