Secure your spot while tickets last!
NBA rookie Thon Maker, who was selected by the Bucks with the 10th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft on Thursday, is 19. At least, that’s the age he has listed on his NBA.com draft page. But Maker’s age has been called into question over the last five days with many people suggesting he could be a lot older than everyone thinks:
The speculation surrounding his age may have hurt his draft stock, but Maker has steadfastly denied the rumors surrounding the legitimacy of his age. He has a somewhat mysterious past—he was born in Sudan and moved to Uganda before relocating to Australia as a refugee and later playing high school basketball in the U.S. and Canada—but he told the Boston Globe that he is not lying about his current age. He also explained how he's been dealing with the rumors.
"It didn’t get to me personally, because if it were true, I’d probably be like sideways about it," he said, "but it’s not true, so I’m comfortable. I’m not angry or anything."
Bucks general manager John Hammond echoed Maker’s sentiments after selecting him in the draft and said that he believes Maker is exactly how old he has said he is.
"He’s 19 years old," Hammond said. "That’s what we have record of and we’ve been through this before with international players. Sometimes guys get questioned on age, and it’s tough…[but] we’re comfortable with who he is and what he is."
Reddit isn’t convinced. On Thursday night, Reddit user bigcritic produced a yearbook photo of Maker along with a story about how Maker had actually graduated from Aranmore Catholic College, a high school in Perth, Australia, back in 2010:
Surprised this has taken so long to come out, I live in the same city in Australia that Maker migrated too (Perth) and one of my friends showed me his older sisters graduation book—which Maker is pictured in and she graduated in 2010/2011 (making her 22-23 this year and most likely him).
As bigcritic pointed out, that would make Maker approximately 22 or 23 years old in 2016. The first photo he provided was vague, though, and didn’t include a date on it so some people were skeptical about whether or not it could be used to prove Maker’s age. But then, another photo surfaced on Reddit which showed the same yearbook photo of Maker along with the words “Graduating Class of 2010” across the top of the page. Additionally, Reddit user Spangher also produced this photo that shows Maker or someone who looks a lot like Maker standing at the back of a 9th grade group photo that was taken in 2007.
There is also a video that might be the most compelling piece of evidence yet. It shows someone flipping through the pages of the 2010 Aranmore Catholic College yearbook and stopping on the page that features Maker:
Reddit user plumlord lays out all of the other evidence that exists regarding Maker’s age here.
Does any of it definitively show that Maker is older than he says he is? No. But if nothing else, it proves that there are going to be question marks swirling around Maker for at least his first few seasons in the league due to the questions about his age. He's clearly going to have to get used to answering the question “So how old are you really?” over and over again. It’s just one more thing the rookie is going to have to deal with as he tries to find a place in the NBA.