NBA Draft 2019 – A Life Changing Night

On Friday, Australia time, the NBA Draft once again saw hopes and dreams both fulfilled and dashed as the 30 NBA teams made their pick of the world best young basketball talent. What it meant for the young men selected best exemplified in the tears of Number One Selection Zion Williamson as he thanked his mother for her sacrifices that allowed him to chase his dream.

Upon the reading of his name by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the life of Williamson and his family were transformed forever. Not only had the 19-year-old reached his life long ambition of becoming an NBA player, but in doing so he had earned himself a financial reward that others his age could only dream of.


As per the NBAPA Collective bargaining first round draft picks can sign for as much a 120% or as little as 80% of the rookie scale.

1 $6,496,560 – $9,744,840
2 $5,812,640 – $8,718,960
3 $5,219,920 – $7,829,880
4 $4,706,240 – $7,059,360
5 $4,261,840 – $6,392,760
6 $3,870,800 – $5,806,200
7 $3,533,600 – $5,300,400
8 $3,237,200- $4,855,800
9 $2,975,600 – $4,463,400
10 $2,826,800 – $4,240,200

It means that not only is it a night in which the dreams of young men come true, it is also one in which their lives are changed forever. To put Williamson’s fortune making night in the context of Australian sport, Sam Walsh after being taken number one in the AFL draft last year will earn a base salary of $95,000 in his first season.

In emotional contrast to Williamson on draft night was fellow 19-year-old Bol Bol. The 7 foot 2 centre from Oregon was at one point tipped to be a top five pick in the draft but instead had to wait until the 44th selection to hear his name read out. Not just a harrowing experience for Bol, as he sat fearing his NBA dream was evaporating in front of the world, but a massive hit to his back pocket too. Instead of a first year salary over $4mil, he will instead settle for somewhere around the $560k mark. Still nice work if you can get it, but a long way short of what he might have previously imagined.

Then just like that a night, unlike many others for its life altering capabilities, was over. While what happens next in their basketball lives is uncertain, for a number of young men they are guaranteed an amount of money most other people can only dream of.

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