He’s balling and making history!
16-year-old Jalen Lewis is making history as the youngest professional basketball player to sign a million-dollar contract, News Onyx reports.
Lewis is a rising junior at Bishop O’Dowd High School in California and a top basketball recruit. More than 12 schools, including Duke, Michigan, and UCLA, have their eyes on the 6-foot-9 center, ranked No.2 by ESPN in the Class of 2021 and 12th overall by the 247 Sports Composite ranking.
The teen recently decided to go pro, signing a $1 million multi-year deal with Overtime Elite (OTE), making history as the youngest pro basketball player to sign a million-dollar contract. The Atlanta-based company took to social media to share the news.
As part of his contractual obligations, any player who signs with OTE will “forfeit their ability to play high school or college basketball.” Instead, players enter into the OTE league, which acts as an accelerator program, offering year-round development, world-class coaching, and a personalized academic program that includes the economic empowerment players need to leverage their brands across the globe.
OTE executive vice president and head of basketball operations shared a little about the significance of the moment.
“Jalen is one of the most exciting young talents in the country, and we are humbled that he has chosen Overtime Elite to elevate his professional development on the court and academically while building his brand internationally. This is a foundational signing for our league and another acknowledgment of the need and desire for our program.”
Some are concerned that Jalen’s age is too young to go pro or forego his high school and college basketball dreams. However, others feel like his signing marks the precipice of a new era for athletes who are doing away with traditional paths and forging new lanes that allow them more control in the long run over their careers.
Overtime Elite has pushed to become an alternative for elite high school and international prospects to use as a training program. Lewis' signing shows the ground the league has gained in grass-roots circles in the United States and internationally. The league previously announced the signings of five-star prospects Amen and Ausar Thompson in the Class of 2022 and Matthew and Ryan Bewley in the Class of 2023, as well as projected 2022 top-20 draft pick Jean Montero from Spain.
Photo Courtesy of Greg Jungferman