By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — Lebron James is keeping busy on and off the basketball court. While still basking in the glow from the Lakers winning the NBA championship, he’s also staying active with projects for his production companies. Along with their forthcoming Black Wall Street documentary, this week Uninterrupted, a division of James’ The SpringHill Company, announced their newest project. It covers the still controversial subject of high school athletes foregoing college for a professional career.
The documentary “Gap Year” spotlights highly touted NBA prospect Darius Bazley. He is skipping college for a “million-dollar internship.”The film will be released Dec. 1 on most streaming services. It was produced by James and The SpringHill Company in in association with SLAM & RTG Features, with distribution from 1091 Pictures.
“Gap Year” is directed by T.J. Regan and Josh Kahn. It was also developed by Klutch Sports Group, led by top NBA agent Rich Paul, who is also a business partner with James. Paul initially signed Bazley as an NBA prospect and led his unorthodox route to the NBA out of high school.
The documentary follows Bazley choosing to skip college and sign a famous “million-dollar internship” with New Balance, the global athletic brand, leading up to the 2019 NBA Draft. He was selected in the first round and recently finished his rookie season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. It also includes interviews with Paul, ESPN’s Jay Williams and Jay Bilas, New Balance global marketing director Patrick Cassidy and rapper Dave East. Plus there will be exclusive Gap Year merchandise available from New Balance.
James is the most accomplished and successful player to become a professional straight out of high school. Current NCAA rules mandate a player must play at least a year in college to be eligible for the draft, though other options include going to Europe or getting an internship like Bazley’s.
However in a couple of years these rules will change. Various NCAA committees recently presented legislation that would allow athletes to benefit from the use of their likenesses in ads and promotions. There is widespread consensus that the NBA will soon once more permit athletes to go pro directly from high school
But for now, “Gap Year” profiles the successful journey of one player who didn’t want to either attend college or go to Europe.