Darius Bazley provided the The New York Times’ Marc Stein with a behind-the-scenes look at his unique path to the NBA. Bazely, a talented 18-year-old forward, is making waves in his year away from organized basketball. Along with honing his skills in private, Bazely is set to become a million-dollar intern for New Balance.
Stein spoke with Bazley’s agent, Rich Paul, about his client’s lucrative opportunity with the Boston-based company. Paul, who also represents NBA star LeBron James, explained that Bazley’s multi-year agreement with New Balance will net him somewhere between $1 million and $14 million.
According to The New York Times’ report, Bazley can reach the top end of that pay scale by performing at high level in the NBA. In a worst case scenario, the former Syracuse recruit will still bring home $1 million.
This development is just the latest twist in Bazley’s unconventional path to the NBA. Stein asked Paul if he was worried about how this journey might hinder his client’s development.
Paul explained to Stein that Bazley’s talent will calm the nerves of potential suitors.
“There will be some things he misses out on, but I’m not worried at all — not with the talent and skill set he has,” Paul said, and added: “No matter what we do this year, he still has to be developed in the N.B.A. You see it even with the highest draft picks — it’s not like you come into the league as a rookie and set the league on fire.”
Paul went on to describe Bazley’s internship with New Balance as an opportunity to gain exposure to the business side of professional sports. Along with that experience, Paul told Stein that NBA teams can remove the mystery surrounding Bazley by contacting his employer for an evaluation of his work ethic.
“I knew he had to be in a place where teams can call and ask, ‘What kind of kid is he?’” Paul said.
After de-committing from Syracuse, Bazley planned on joining the G League. He then decided that the veteran-heavy development league didn’t provide enough potential upside for his NBA stock.
As a prospect, Bazley’s superb athleticism is his main selling point. Armed with a long frame and quick feet, he will be able to guard multiple positions once his body matures. Bazley currently ranks No. 21 on Ridiculous Upside’s 2019 Big Board.
You can read Stein’s complete article at The New York Times.