Charlotte Hornets rising star LaMelo Ball just won the 2020-21 Rookie of the Year honor, and he made some history in the process that allows him to be mentioned in the same breath as LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
As Hoops Hype noted, Ball is the third youngest winner of the ROY–only behind LeBron and KD. The Hornets guard is 19 years and 299 days old when he was awarded the honor.
LaMelo Ball is the third youngest Rookie of the Year ever.
Only LeBron James and Kevin Durant won the award at a younger age.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) June 16, 2021
For what it’s worth, LeBron James and Kevin Durant were also 19 years old when they won the award, and so are Luka Doncic, Andrew Wiggins and Kyrie Irving (per Stat Muse). With that said, the age gap between LaMelo and his ROY peers are really not that huge and are mere days.
Of course, that is in no way downplaying the achievement of the Hornets youngster. If there is anything he has proven in his first year in the NBA, it is the fact that he has the abilities, confidence and swag to become a legitimate superstar.
On the other hand, rookies dominating as teenagers seems to be becoming more and more common over the past few years. There was Luka and Ja Morant in back-to-back years, though the Memphis Grizzlies guard was technically 20 years old when he won the award.
With players becoming better and better in terms of talent and getting better exposure in different leagues–like what happened to the Hornets playmaker–it is certainly interesting to see the future of the NBA.