Jalen Lewis, 16, has made history in the United States by becoming the youngest player to sign a professional basketball contract in the country. The high school junior, according to The Athletic, signed a multi-year contract with Overtime Elite (OTE) professional league worth more than $1 million.
The talented player took to his Twitter page to confirm the signing. “110% Committed! OTE Let’s Rock!,” he tweeted his commitment to OTE.
The contract makes Lewis the third person to sign for OTE in the Class of 2023, alongside Matt and Ryan Bewley, a pair of highly ranked talents from Florida, whose deals were reportedly worth $500,000 per year.
Overtime Elite has reportedly been pursuing Lewis since early this spring and has reportedly signed other top international talents, including Jean Montero, Alexandre Sarr, and Nathan Missia-Dio.
The deal means that the 6-foot-8, 215-pound center from Oakland, Calif., will no longer be eligible to play in high school or college. Prior to the contract, the five-star young player received recruiting interest from 12 schools, including Duke, Michigan, and UCLA, according to The Athletic.
Lewis is ranked by ESPN as Number 2 in the Class of 2021 and 12th in the Class of 2023 in the 247Sports Composite Rating. What’s more, Lewis was also named to the Bay Area News Group Fab 25 following his sophomore season this spring.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Jalen and his family. The Overtime Elite Professional League provides another pathway for top prospects,” said Aaron Goodwin, a prominent agent, and advisor to the Lewis family, according to The Athletic. “OTE presents young athletes with a true partnership and the opportunity to immediately benefit from the business side of the game.”
According to The Mercury News, Lewis played two seasons under Lou Richie at Bishop O’Dowd alongside Cal-bound Marsalis Roberson. He also helped the Dragons to the NorCal Open Division finals before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
As part of the contract, all players with OTE are guaranteed an annual salary of $100,000 as well as full health coverage. Also, players will receive insurance packages in the case of injury and up to $100,000 in college tuition if they leave professional basketball.
According to SI.com, Lewis is not eligible to play in the NBA until he is a year out of high school or 19 years. This means that he would not be drafted until 2024.