Spencer Haywood Sees a 'Tinge of Slavery' in College Basketball, 'Very Racist'

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2018

Retired Denver Nuggets great Spencer Haywood smiles during an awards ceremony before the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Nov. 9, 2017, in Denver. The Nuggets won 102-94. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Basketball Hall of Famer Spencer Haywood has spoken out against players' being barred from playing in the NBA until they are 19 years of age and other NCAA-related issues.

In an interview with Sean Deveney of Sporting News, Haywood expressed his belief that the current rules aren't fair to the players:

"If you have 11 blacks on your team and you are, say, in Kentucky, and they're creating all this wealth but not getting paid? It does have a tinge of slavery.

"It is what it is. It is very racist because they're not helping the communities where those kids come from, Chicago and Detroit and so on."

Haywood agreed with Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy, who called the defense of the one-and-done rule "racist," per the Detroit Free Press' Vince Ellis.

After two seasons of college basketball, Haywood attempted to enter the 1969 NBA draft. Rules prevented underclassmen from playing in the NBA, but Haywood filed an antitrust suit against the NBA that contributed to the rule later getting changed.

Haywood also took issue with the fact college athletes don't get paid despite generating significant revenue for the NCAA:

"They just got a contract from CBS [and TNT], $8.8 billion, and if you are making that, I think you have to share some revenue. You can't expect people to continue to work for nothing on a false hope of, well this is about education, we are getting you an education, we will feed you. It sounds a little like 400 years ago, like slavery. Stay in your hut. Stay in that little house. We’ll give you some food. You do all of the work. All of it. And I am telling you that I will take care of you."

Haywood also noted how college players are forced to sit out a year after transferring, while coaches can leave whenever they choose and are still eligible to coach immediately.

In terms of the one-and-done rule that essentially forces players to spend at least one year in college before going to the NBA, a change could be on the horizon.

According to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wants the league to open dialogue with elite high school players and open an alternative path to spending a year in college, such as expanding the influence of the G League.

During the early portion of Haywood's playing days, young players had another viable option in the form of the ABA.

Haywood began his professional career by playing for the ABA's Denver Rockets before jumping ship to the NBA's Seattle SuperSonics.

While no current American professional league can come close to rivaling the NBA, the G League could be the modern-day answer since it would allow players to make money while also preparing them for the NBA.

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