Four Star Recruit Becomes Youngest American-Born Pro Basketball Player In History

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Dink Pate made history with his decision to play pro basketball over college.

The four star recruit in the 2024 class announced Tuesday that he’s reclassifying to the 2023 class and will sign with the NBA G-League to play for the Ignite.

Pate, who is 17, will then enter the 2025 NBA Draft in a couple years. Top prospects can earn several hundred thousand dollars to play in the G-League over the traditional college route.

Dink Pate makes history with his decision.

Pate’s decision to go pro isn’t just notable because he’s going to make some money. He’s officially the youngest American-born pro basketball player in the history of the USA, according to NBC Washington.

The 6’7″ shooting guard out of Dallas turned 17 in March. He must be 19 in the calendar year of the NBA draft, which is why he can’t enter the draft until 2025.

So, while a lot of guys his age will be enjoying having a driver’s license and preparing for senior year of high school, Pate will be playing pro basketball as the youngest American to ever do so.

There have been plenty of guys to go pro out of high school, and Jeremy Tyler even skipped his senior year of high school to play in Israel. However, Pate will be the youngest American-born player to ever cash a check.

In Europe, playing pro basketball as a teenager happens all the time. Former second overall pick Darko Milicic’s pro career in Europe started at the age of 14. It’s very common overseas. It’s definitely not common in America, but the G-League is starting to throw cash at players to be a viable alternative.

Darko Milicic started his pro basketball career as a teenager in Europe. Dink Pate will now be the youngest American-born player in history. (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

It should be fascinating to see if more young players follow Dink Pate’s path over playing in college. There’s a ton of money to be made, and clearly, he believes that’s the correct choice for him and his family. Time will tell whether or not it was the right call.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.

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