It is an odd decision for a potentially 18 year old kid to make: go pro, or sign up for classes next fall. Once a kid has made up his mind to try his hand at NBA basketball, he “declares eligibility” for that year’s draft. There is no guarantee the kid will be drafted at all, and that puts him in a precarious position. While he can return to school and further his education, he can no longer ball.
So when Royce White said he was ready for NBA basketball going into the 2012 NBA draft, one of the deepest in years, he was indeed making a declaration: I am prepared to put my college days behind me and become a professional athlete. Sure, an NBA player is no police officer, brain surgeon, NASA launch officer (Oh wait, no one is!), but they are a professional nonetheless.
White declared his eligibility, but has yet to log a minute of NBA play, and until a few days ago hadn’t played basketball period since ending his college career. He declared eligibility, but he surely hasn’t been professional.