Between Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett alone, there have been plenty of young basketball talents who got signed at a young age and enjoyed long careers. But one rising basketball star blows them out of the water from a youth perspective.
According to NBA insider Shams Charania, 16-year-old Jalen Lewis is signing a $1 million-plus deal with the new Overtime Elite professional basketball league. The deal makes Lewis the youngest professional player in the history of American basketball.
Jalen Lewis is only a junior in high school but is considered one of the top prospects in the Class of 2023. 247Sports rates him as the No. 12 overall prospect, the No. 2 center, and the No. 1 prospect from the state of California.
Naturally, Lewis has been picking up offers from some of the biggest NCAA powerhouses for over a year now. Kansas, Kentucky, Texas Tech and UCLA are just a few of the schools to give him a scholarship offer.
But clearly Lewis has more lucrative plans in mind.
High school junior Jalen Lewis is signing a $1 million-plus contract with the new Overtime Elite league, sources tell @TheAthletic@Stadium. The 16-year-old becomes the youngest to ever turn pro in American basketball.https://t.co/uHBWwA3gx4
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 9, 2021
Overtime Elite launched this past March as a league that would pay elite basketball prospects a six-figure salary or better, and even offer equity. This would necessitate signees foregoing high school and college basketball, but give them paid basketball minutes as they presumably prepare to go pro in the NBA or overseas.
Jalen Lewis is one of several prospects that Overtime Elite have already signed. Matt and Ryan Bewley, a pair of five-star prospects from West Oaks Academy, have already joined the fledgling league.
Will we see any other five-star prospects join Overtime Elite before the league plays its first games?