How You Can (Very Easily) Apply For Next Year's NBA Draft

It only takes a couple steps for you to be eligible for the NBA Draft.

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If you haven’t played basketball above the “5-on-5 at the park, game to 21, win by two” level but have always wanted to play with the big boys, it’s actually not that hard to enter the NBA Draft. 

Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram were this year's big headliners, and chances are they’re a lot better at basketball than you. But don't let being grossly unqualified for the job stop you—apply for the NBA Draft anyway!

If you have not yet graduated college and wish to be an Early Entry for the NBA Draft, according to Article X, Section 1(b)(ii)(F) of the current NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement, all you have to do is write a letter to the league a couple of months before the draft informing them of your desire to be eligible for the draft. The CBA states:


This is actually what every underclassmen who gets drafted does. Yep, Simmons, Ingram, Kris Dunn, Jamal Murray, all had to apply as an early entrant, since they did not complete their college eligibility. No such letter is needed if you graduate college.

If you graduated college in the same calendar year as the NBA Draft, you are automatically eligible to be drafted (but you still should write a letter, considering there’s no way in Hell Adam Silver knows who you are—more on that below).

According to the CBA, in Article X, Section 1(b):


Also, if you have already graduated college, but not in the same calendar year as that year's draft, you are an NBA Free Agent, eligible to be signed with any of the 30 teams in the league, as noted by this letter. An unnamed 25-year old from Hoboken, N.J. asked to declare himself as an entrant for the draft, but since he had graduated years before he was informed that he was eligible to sign with any team at any time. No Draft for him. 

A guy named Zachary Feinstein got lucky back in 2008. No, he didn’t get drafted, but he sent a letter to the NBA wishing to apply to the NBA Draft as an early entrant. He let them know he was eligible, and he got a letter back three weeks later along with draft application forms. You can find him under “Undrafted Individuals” of the 2008 Official NBA Early Entrant Draft List.

So if you have the urge to play for the NBA, email the NBA, let them know you're eligible for the draft, request application forms, and you’ll be on your way to, well, probably nowhere. But at least you'll put the NBA on notice, right?

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