Rising basketball star Jalen Lewis is making history as the youngest player to sign a professional basketball contract in the country, according to The Athletic. The 16-year-old has reportedly signed a $1 million multi-year deal with Overtime Elite (OTE).
“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,” said Brandon Williams, Overtime Elite executive vice president and head of basketball operations, in a statement. “This is a foundational signing for our league and another acknowledgment of the need and desire for our program.”
The YOUNGEST PLAYER EVER to turn pro in American basketball ?
— Overtime (@overtime) July 9, 2021
Jalen Lewis Signs Basketball Contract with OTE
Lewis has been gaining notoriety on the basketball scene for his five-star success.
The rising junior is a top basketball recruit from Bishop O’Dowd High School in California. He’s received recruiting interest from at least 12 schools, including Duke, Michigan, and UCLA. A 6-foot-9 center, Lewis is ranked by ESPN as No. 2 in the Class of 2021. He’s also listed as 12th overall by the 247 Sports Composite ranking.
Overtime Elite’s deal with Lewis was record-breaking. The young star’s multi-year deal with the Atlanta-based organization could be the beginning of new opportunities for high school students. So far, 10 players have already signed the dotted line. Jalen is the highest-ranked recruit to sign with the new pro league.
“I’d describe Jalen as an absolute difference-maker, a rare talent, with a combination of size, athleticism, good hands and ball skills that impact plays on both ends of the court,” said Kevin Ollie, OTE coach and director of player development, in a release. “There are no limitations to what he’ll be able to do in his career and through Overtime Elite, he’ll have the resources in place to help him reach his dreams.”
OTE Contract for High School Athletes
As part of the deal, athletes receive a guaranteed minimum salary of at least $100,000 per year. The athletes will also receive the following benefits:
- Up to $100,000 for college tuition
- Full health care coverage and disability insurance coverage
- Bonuses and company shares
The New York Times noted that the players who sign with OTE will “forfeit their ability to play high school or college basketball.”
But that doesn’t sound like a deal breaker for Jalen Lewis. He’s passing up other offers to secure his spot as a professional basketball player with OTE. The league has raised capital to position top high school athletes for targeted opportunities through its robust training program.