The Arizona Republic
Apr. 13, 2005 12:00 AM
Suns swingman Quentin Richardson
and center Steven Hunter
don't support an age minimum of 20 for first-year players - an NBA proposal that Indiana's Jermaine O'Neal suggested was racist.
Richardson and Hunter are among three players on the Phoenix roster who were drafted before reaching the proposed minimum age. Both were drafted when they were 19 and after two years at DePaul.
The third is Amaré Stoudemire, who also was drafted as a 19-year-old out of an Orlando high school.
Richardson and Hunter argued that other sports don't have age restrictions.
"If Michelle Wie can start playing golf with pros while she's still in high school, why can't a kid who is ready for the NBA be drafted?" Hunter said before the Suns-Hornets game Tuesday night at American West Arena.
Wie continues to play as an amateur, but Hunter said she already has begun working at her profession.
"She's going to be making a lot of money real soon," he said.
Richardson mentioned baseball, in which teams always have drafted prospects straight out of high school.
"Why are we talking about an age limit when those other sports don't?" he said.
"If you're ready to play and you're 18, you should play, no matter what," said Richardson, who said the onus should be on teams to stop drafting immature kids out of high school.
The age minimum, which has been proposed by management, looms as a controversial issue in negotiations for a new agreement with the National Basketball Players Association.
Suns coach Mike D'Antoni said he couldn't talk about it. An NBA memo has directed coaches not to comment on collective-bargaining issues.
Richardson didn't play because of the left ankle sprain he suffered Monday night. The sprain is not believed to be serious.
"It's not bad, but it's bad enough to sit out," said D'Antoni, adding that Richardson could be back Friday against the Clippers at America West.
Shawn Marion will be in Los Angeles tonight as a guest on the Best Damn Sports Show.
• The Suns are off today. They'll play in a charity golf tournament, the annual Phoenix Suns Scramble at Grayhawk, instead of practice.