There’s a lot of NBA players who will be getting a bit shorter or taller — or even a bit older — in the next couple of weeks.
As Marc Stein of the New York Times tweeted on Thursday, the NBA has notified all teams that they must certify and submit to the league the precise height and age for every player on their rosters. Stein noted that players have routinely been listed either shorter or taller than their actual height, and occasionally have been listed younger as well, but that practice is apparently coming to an end.
Stein noted that the change from the NBA appears to be sparked by a report late last year that Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield was actually a full year older than he had been listed by the team. Hield had just celebrated his birthday last year and told the team’s broadcast team that he was turning 26 — which was a year older than the team had him listed.
When asked why he was listed as 24 and turning 25, Hield said that his birthday had been listed incorrectly.
“That’s their fault, not my fault,” Hield said, via NBC Sports. “The first time I saw it on Wikipedia, my mom said, ‘Why do they have your age wrong?’ I said, ‘I have no idea.'”
Hield had been born in the Bahamas and came to the United States with identification that Hield says had his correct birthday. He noted that both his passport and driver’s license correctly listed his birthday as 1992.
“I just think people got their information from Wikipedia or wherever, and they just went with it. They just got it wrong,” he said.
The age disparity could have affected Hield’s draft status. As the NBC Sports report noted, there were concerns about Hield being an “old rookie” when he was picked No. 6 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft, but it turns out he was actually a full year older than he was listed at the time.
NBA teams were notified this week that they must certify and submit the precise height and age for every player within the first week of training camp, league sources tell @NYTSports— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 26, 2019
It’s not clear yet what other NBA players could be affected, but there have long been suspicions of international athletes lying about their age in order to gain an advantage when signing contracts. This has been a particular issue in baseball, where young international players have been caught lying to make themselves look younger. This even led MLB to open an office in the Dominican Republican in 2000 to respond to the growing use of forged documents by young players there.