When I was a kid, I always dreamed of playing in the NBA. It would have been surreal to be able to play the game I loved for a living.
As I got older, I told myself that I needed to get more realistic about what I wanted to do with my life. But really, I was protecting myself from the possibility of failing.
I truly believe that if a person sets their mind to something, they can achieve it.
While it is extremely difficult to make it to the NBA, maybe even nearly impossible, it isn’t impossible. Sure, there’s only a small percentage of college basketball players that make it to the NBA.
But it isn’t zero percent.
To quote one of my favorite movies of all time, Dumb and Dumber, Lloyd Christmas is faced with incredible odds to land the woman of his dreams.
He asks his dream girl about the chances of a guy like him ending up with a girl like her. Her answer: 1 in a million.
Then Lloyd responds, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance!”
Here I am telling you there is a chance! The only way to ensure failure is to quit before you even try.
If you’ve played basketball for a while and have dreams of making it to the NBA someday, I encourage you to work towards that goal as hard as you can. To help you with that goal, I went ahead and wrote this post on how to make it to the NBA to help you get an idea of what steps you’ll need to take to get there.
Some of the steps are pretty straightforward, like honing your basketball skills and becoming stronger, while others are a bit more nuanced, like building connections and seeking guidance from others.
I’ll go over everything you need to know to make your dreams of playing on a professional basketball team in the NBA a reality!
What is The NBA?
The NBA, short for the National Basketball Association, is a professional basketball league based in North America.
It is known as the premier basketball league in the world and provides televised games to basketball fans all over.
It consists of 30 teams, divided into two conferences: the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. Each conference is further divided into three divisions.
The NBA was founded in New York City on June 6, 1946, as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). In 1949, it merged with the National Basketball League (NBL) to form the NBA as we know it today.
Since its inception, the NBA has grown in popularity and has become a global phenomenon, attracting fans from all corners of the world.
NBA superstars like Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Magic Johnson are some of the most well-known athletes in the world. Many of them are extremely influential.
As a kid, I would watch the NBA constantly (in fact, I still do), and every time I watched, I would be inspired to find a gym or go out to the in ground basketball hoop in my driveway and get shots up. The league has evolved my love of the game exponentially.
In addition to the on-court action, the NBA has also paved the way for cultural impact, with its players becoming influential figures both on and off the court. From fashion to philanthropy, NBA players have made significant contributions to various fields outside of basketball.
The NBA continues to evolve, embracing technological advancements and expanding its global reach. Its popularity has transcended borders, making basketball a beloved sport worldwide.
Whether you’re a casual fan or a devoted follower, the NBA offers thrilling entertainment and showcases some of the world’s greatest basketball talents.
Reasons You Need to Know How to Make It to The NBA
1. Fulfillment of a Childhood Dream: For many aspiring basketball players, making it to the NBA is the ultimate goal. Being able to play at the highest level of professional basketball can bring a sense of fulfillment and accomplishment.
2. Financial Rewards: The NBA offers lucrative contracts to its players, making it a pathway to financial stability and wealth. NBA players earn substantial salaries, endorsements, and other opportunities that can set them up for a very comfortable life.
3. Global Recognition: The NBA is a global brand with fans worldwide. Playing in the NBA gives players international exposure and recognition, allowing them to build a global fan base and connect with people from different cultures and backgrounds.
4. Competitive Environment: The NBA features some of the best basketball players in the world. Competing against top-tier talent can help you improve your skills, push your limits, and become a better player overall. The intense competition in the NBA can bring out the best in you as an athlete.
5. Platform for Influence: NBA players are not only known for their on-court abilities but also for their impact off the court. Through their platform, players can raise awareness about social issues, advocate for change, and inspire others to follow their lead. Making it to the NBA can provide a powerful platform to make a positive difference in the world.
6. Networking Opportunities: The NBA is a tight-knit community of players, coaches, and executives. Being a part of the NBA opens doors to valuable networking opportunities, allowing you to connect with influential individuals in the basketball industry and beyond.
7. Travel and Exposure to Diverse Cultures: As an NBA player, you’ll have the opportunity to travel to various cities across North America and sometimes internationally. This exposure to different cultures and environments can broaden your horizons and enrich your life experiences.
8. Personal Growth and Development: The journey to the NBA requires dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Along the way, you’ll face challenges, setbacks, and moments of triumph. This journey can help shape your character, build resilience, and instill valuable life skills that extend beyond basketball.
9. Inspire the Next Generation: By making it to the NBA, you become an inspiration to aspiring young athletes who dream of following in your footsteps. Your success can motivate and empower the next generation to pursue their dreams relentlessly.
10. Love for the Game: Ultimately, the love and passion for basketball are at the core of wanting to make it to the NBA. The opportunity to play the game you love at the highest level is a dream come true for any basketball player.
Step-by-Step Instructions to Make it to The NBA
If you aspire to make it to the NBA, here is a step-by-step guide to help you on your journey:
1. Finding Your Passion
Before embarking on this incredible journey, it’s crucial to have a burning passion for basketball.
Find joy in every dribble, every shot, and every defensive stance. Cultivate a love for the game that fuels your dedication and pushes you to overcome any obstacles that lie ahead.
2. Mastering the Fundamentals
Just like any craft, basketball requires a strong foundation.
Develop your skills in dribbling, shooting, passing, and defense. Practice tirelessly, honing your technique under the watchful eye of experienced coaches. Create a set of basketball drills that push you to your limits. Remember, perfection comes from repeating the basics until they become second nature.
3. Strength and Conditioning
To excel on the hardwood, you need to be physically fit and strong.
Hit the gym, focusing on strengthening your core, improving your agility, and building explosive speed. Work on your vertical jump and enhance your endurance to outlast your opponents. A well-conditioned body and the knowledge of how to get in shape for basketball will give you an edge in the game.
4. Embracing the Mental Game
Basketball is not just about physical prowess; it’s also a mental battle.
Develop mental toughness and resilience to overcome challenges. Stay focused, block out distractions, and visualize success. Learn to adapt to different game situations and maintain composure under pressure. A strong mind will elevate your performance when it matters most.
5. Compete and Showcase
To catch the attention of college scouts and coaches, you need to showcase your skills.
Attend basketball camps, tournaments, and showcases where you can compete against top talent. Embrace every opportunity to demonstrate your abilities, leaving a lasting impression on those who hold the keys to the NBA.
6. Education and Academics
While pursuing your basketball dreams, it’s important not to neglect your education.
Maintain good grades and strive for academic success. Balancing sports and academics will not only help your college eligibility and open doors for college scholarships but also equip you with valuable life skills beyond the court.
7. Navigating the College Route
College basketball acts as a stepping stone for players aspiring to make it to the NBA.
Research and reach out to coaches on college teams, expressing your interest and providing them with your highlight reels and game statistics to increase your chance of becoming a college player. Pursue opportunities to play college ball and use it as a platform to showcase your talent to a wider audience.
If you know how to get a basketball scholarship, this step becomes a lot easier.
8. Building Connections
In the world of basketball, networking is key.
Connect with coaches, trainers, and professionals who can guide you on your path. Seek mentorship from former players and industry experts who can provide invaluable insights and advice. Building meaningful relationships can open doors and expose you to opportunities that may otherwise remain hidden.
9. The NBA Draft
The NBA draft is the gateway to the professional league.
If you’ve put in the hard work, impressed scouts, and caught the attention of NBA teams, you may find yourself hearing your name called on draft night. Prepare meticulously, participate in pre-draft workouts, and showcase your skills in front of team representatives. Remember, the journey doesn’t end here—draft night is just the beginning of your NBA career.
Key Considerations for Successfully Making It To The NBA
1. Skill Development: Focus on honing your basketball skills and improving your overall game. Work on mastering the fundamental skills, such as shooting, dribbling, passing, and defense. Strive to become a well-rounded player who can contribute in multiple areas of the game.
2. Physical Conditioning: Develop your athleticism and physical fitness. NBA players need to have strength, speed, agility, and endurance. Incorporate a comprehensive strength and conditioning program into your training routine to enhance your physical abilities and reduce the risk of injuries.
3. Mental Strength and Resilience: Basketball at the professional level requires mental toughness. Develop a strong mindset, the ability to handle pressure, and the resilience to persevere through challenges and setbacks. Mental preparation and focus will be crucial in competitive situations.
4. Competition and Exposure: Seek out opportunities to compete against top-level talent. Play for competitive teams, and participate in showcases, tournaments, and camps where you can showcase your skills and gain exposure. Competing against the best will push you to elevate your game and attract attention from scouts and recruiters.
5. Education and Eligibility: Ensure that you meet the academic eligibility requirements for college basketball and potential scholarship opportunities. Maintain good grades and consider the possibility of playing college basketball as a stepping stone to the NBA. College experience can provide valuable exposure and development opportunities.
6. Networking and Connections: Build relationships with coaches, trainers, and other influential individuals within the basketball community. Attend camps, clinics, and events where you can connect with industry professionals who can offer guidance, opportunities, and connections.
7. NBA Draft Process: Understand the process and requirements for entering the NBA draft. Hire an agent who is knowledgeable about the draft process and can assist you with navigating the necessary steps. Participate in pre-draft workouts and showcase your skills to NBA team representatives.
8. Adaptability and Versatility: Be adaptable and versatile in your playing style. The NBA is constantly evolving, and players who can fill multiple roles and contribute in different ways have a competitive edge. Develop a diverse skill set that allows you to excel in various positions and situations.
9. Mental and Physical Health: Take care of your mental and physical well-being. Maintain a healthy lifestyle, get sufficient rest, and prioritize self-care. Seek support from professionals when needed to ensure you are in optimal condition to perform at your best.
10. Persistence and Dedication: Making it to the NBA requires unwavering dedication and persistence. Stay committed to your goals, work hard consistently, and remain focused on your development. Embrace the journey, embrace continuous improvement, and never give up on your dreams, whether they’re simply to make an NBA team or become an NBA champion.
Taking it to the Next Level: How to Significantly Increase Your Vertical Jump
1. Strengthen Your Lower Body: Knowing how to get strong fast for basketball and building strength in your lower body is essential for improving your vertical jump. Focus on exercises that target the muscles involved in jumping, such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, and calf raises. Include both weighted exercises and plyometric exercises like box jumps and jump squats to develop power and explosiveness.
2. Plyometric Training: Plyometric exercises are designed to enhance explosive power and increase your ability to generate force quickly. Incorporate exercises like depth jumps, bounding, and squat jumps into your training routine. Start with low-intensity plyometric exercises and gradually progress to more advanced variations as your strength and technique improve.
3. Jump-Specific Training: Dedicate time to jump-specific exercises that directly mimic the mechanics of jumping. Practice jump squats, tuck jumps, and single-leg jumps to develop the specific muscle coordination needed for a higher vertical leap. Focus on exploding off the ground as forcefully as possible with each repetition. Grab a good vertical jump mat to help you measure your progress.
4. Core Strength and Stability: A strong core is crucial for generating power and maintaining stability during explosive movements. Incorporate exercises like planks, Russian twists, and medicine ball throws to strengthen your core muscles. Improved core stability will allow you to transfer power from your lower body efficiently and maximize your vertical jump.
5. Flexibility and Mobility: Adequate flexibility and mobility are important for optimizing your jumping mechanics. Perform dynamic stretching exercises to improve hip mobility, ankle flexibility, and overall range of motion. This will allow you to achieve deeper squat positions and generate more power during the jumping motion.
6. Proper Technique: Pay attention to proper jumping techniques. Focus on using a quick and explosive triple extension of the ankles, knees, and hips to generate maximum power. Practice landing softly and absorbing the impact to prevent injuries and maintain optimal performance.
7. Vertical Jump Specific Training Programs: Consider following a structured vertical jump program training designed to increase your leaping ability. These programs typically incorporate a mix of strength training, plyometrics, and jump-specific exercises to maximize results. Research reputable programs or consult with a certified strength and conditioning specialist for personalized guidance.
8. Rest and Recovery: Allow your body sufficient time to rest and recover between training sessions. Overtraining can lead to decreased performance and increased risk of injury. Incorporate rest days into your training schedule and prioritize proper nutrition, hydration, and sleep to support optimal recovery and muscular development.
Alternative Methods to How to Make It to The NBA
1. Play Basketball Overseas: If playing in the NBA directly seems challenging, exploring professional basketball opportunities to play overseas can be an alternative route. Many international leagues provide competitive environments and exposure to scouts and agents. Playing abroad can help develop skills and gain valuable experience, potentially leading to opportunities in the NBA.
2. G League: Formerly known as the D-League, the G League serves as a developmental league for the NBA. Players can join G League teams to further develop their skills, gain exposure, and potentially catch the attention of NBA scouts. Success in the G League can lead to call-ups to the NBA.
3. College Basketball: Playing collegiate basketball on a college team can provide opportunities for growth, exposure, and development. Many NBA players honed their skills in college before transitioning to the professional level. Consider pursuing a scholarship at a reputable college program where you can showcase your abilities to coaches, scouts, and recruiters.
4. NBA Summer League and Training Camps: The NBA Summer League and training camps offer a platform for undrafted players and those seeking a chance to prove themselves. Participating in these opportunities can allow you to showcase your skills in front of NBA coaches and executives, potentially earning a spot on an NBA roster.
Again, making it to the NBA is difficult, but remember that there’s a chance.
It requires dedication, passion, and an unwavering belief in your abilities.
By mastering the fundamentals, nurturing mental toughness, seizing opportunities, and building a strong network, you can inch closer to your hoop dreams.
So, lace up your sneakers, hit the court, and let your basketball journey begin. Remember, every step you take brings you closer to realizing your NBA dreams.
Is it hard to get into the NBA?
Yes, getting into the NBA is extremely challenging.
The NBA is the highest level of professional basketball in the world, and only a limited number of players are able to secure a spot on an NBA roster.
The competition is fierce, with talented players from all around the world vying for a chance to play in the league.
To make it to the NBA, players must possess exceptional skills, athleticism, basketball IQ, and mental toughness. They need to stand out among thousands of other talented individuals who aspire to play at the highest level.
The road to the NBA often involves years of rigorous training, sacrifice, and dedication.
Can you make it to the NBA without school?
Yes, it is possible to make it to the NBA without attending college or playing in high school. While most NBA players have played college basketball before entering the league, there are alternative paths available.
One option is to enter the NBA G League, which serves as a developmental league for the NBA. Players can join G League teams, earn salaries, and compete against high-level competition. Success in the G League can lead to opportunities in the NBA.
Another route is to play professionally overseas. Many international leagues provide competitive environments and exposure to scouts and agents.
Notable NBA players like Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett entered the league directly from high school, bypassing college.
Do NBA G League players make it to the NBA?
Yes, NBA G League players have the opportunity to make it to the NBA.
The G League serves as a developmental league for the NBA, providing players with a platform to showcase their skills, gain experience, and catch the attention of NBA scouts and teams.
Players who have not yet entered the NBA Draft can sign G League contracts and enter the league through the NBA G League Draft. While success in the G League does not guarantee an NBA roster spot, many players have used their time in the G League as a stepping stone to the NBA.