To you, “making it” as a basketball player can mean different things.
- Making your local recreational league team
- Making your high school team (freshman, JV or varsity)
- Getting a college scholarship offer
- Walking on in college
- Playing professional basketball – NBA, Overseas, D-League etc
No matter which it is for you, this post will answer a burning question many basketball players ask me.
Is making it in basketball hard?
Making it in basketball is hard to do. With hard meaning, “requiring more effort than most things you’ll do in life.”Making it in basketball is hard to do. Click To Tweet
Why is this?
One reason is the sheer amount of competition in basketball. Unlike becoming a doctor or lawyer, basketball has a finite number of positions (at least when it comes to team rosters). 15 on an NBA team. Teams at every other level are somewhere in that neighborhood. So if 50 people try out, at least 35 will leave without a jersey.
Another reason making it in basketball is hard: There is no set way of achieving success.
If I want to become a lawyer, there is a set pathway: Go to college as a pre-law major. Graduate and enroll in law school. Pass law school. Pass the state bar exam. If I follow these steps, I am officially allowed to practice law. I am a lawyer. From here, there are a few options. If I’m near the top of the class, I can get a good job at some firm. Or start my own. Or go into the public sector (public defender, prosecutor, judge).
There are similar processes for teachers, doctors and others. Basketball has no such process.
Players have skipped college and become pros. Some do great in college and never play in the pros. Exposure camps helped me create a career. Many players attend multiple exposure camps and never sign one contract. Maybe you’ll know someone who knows someone, and that will help you start a career. Maybe you don’t know anyone – and still make your career happen.
My point is, there is no set, must-do-this path to making it as a basketball player. That could either spook you, since you’ll have to make your own way, or excite you, since you have a chance as long as you think you do.
Here are 3 more reasons making it in basketball is hard. Take these as you wish: something to scare you out of trying, or reasons to keep pursuing it [ read much more on this and more on the Help Page]:
- There are a ton of players out there, and there will always be more, not less of them. Unlike American football, there are no significant (read: suicide risk, dementia) health risks associated with playing basketball for a long time. It’s a well-paying profession, more glamorous than a regular job, and it’s a game you’re playing. Not all players will be good, but there will always be a lot of players.
- Basketball is a buyer’s market. When there is more supply (available players) than there is demand (jobs), the buyers (teams) are in power. You (player) are not. Which means you need to sell yourself, one way or another. Remember, there is not one set way that guarantees success. Basketball is a buyer's market. Click To Tweet
- If you look at all the reasons basketball is hard, you probably won’t want to even try. I didn’t write this to discourage you. Even if I did, doesn’t mean you have to take it that way. The fact is, if you look at all the reasons why any big goal is hard to reach, you won’t ever do anything in life.
So, is making it in basketball a challenge? You’re damned right it is. Are you up for it? Only you can answer that – with your actions.
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