The NBA is the elite basketball association in the world. It is exclusive to about 450 players maximum since every team has 12 to 15 players in their rosters. Every year an All-Star game is celebrated with the most talented players in the league, chosen by the fans and coaches. Similarly, All-Star games are played in other leagues around the world featuring their best and outstanding players.
To play in these leagues, at the professional level, all the players require a great deal of talent and persistent practice. They all go through a journey of development which usually starts at a young age. What are then, in no particular order, the special traits an All-Star player develops to excel from the rest?
In basketball, an all-star player is a true leader, a role model for the rest of the team, and players around the world. They are productive for the team in many ways, all-around offensively and defensively, tirelessly looking for a victory. They listen to their coaches and know how to encourage their teammates on and off the court. Leaders possess a charismatic personality and are good communicators. They are always enthusiastically leading by example helping others be the best they can be.
“The best teams have chemistry. They communicate with each other and they sacrifice personal glory for the common goal.” – Dave DeBusschere
The best basketball players in the world are passionately competitive. They are motivated to be the best they could be to win games for their teams. It is a desire you really need to feel in your heart, in your skin. We all want to win, in basketball, in life. Motivation is contagious and is the spark that starts up the all-star engine in you. All-star players today are a great source of motivation for you to accomplish what they have done and more.
“Basketball is a beautiful game when the five players on the court play with one heartbeat.” – Dean Smith
Tenacity is the firm determination fueled by your motivation to do whatever righteous actions it takes to be the best you can be in the presence of adversity. It is a decision that needs to be reassured every single day of your life. It needs to be a habit for it to work. If you are tenacious, determined and persevering, your motivation will soon take you to new heights where prolific and successful all-stars reign.
“The guy said NBA players are one in a million… I said, ‘Man, look, I’m going to be that one in a million.'” – Kobe Bryant
To be successful in basketball, or anything else, you need to know yourself; your advantages and limitations, both mental and physical. After many practice drills and training, you become aware of your strengths and how you can best help your team win games. Self-knowledge leads to self-confidence. Do not ever be afraid of failure and do not quit if you miss some shots, or lose some games. Instead, learn from those situations and move forward with your goal to become better every day. All-stars are always aware of their capabilities and are always pushing them to the limits.
“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan
How hard is it to wake up everyday at 5:00 am, given that you always go to bed at about 9:00 pm? How about being always on time for practice, for school, for a meeting? These seemingly simple to-do things, if done consistently, become good habits which are a powerful influence to develop a great successful character. Discipline gives order to everything we do as a society. We all have to follow certain rules and the same is true in basketball. So the #1 rule to become an all-star player is to be disciplined in everything we do.
“My definition of discipline is as follows: 1) Do what has to be done, when it has to be done, as well as it can be done, and 2) Do it that well all the time.” – Bob Knight
“Talent may be innate, while innate is not enough for being talented.” Everybody, with no exception, is born with at least a talent, a natural ability to perform well at something. That ability, once recognized, must be developed, increased to its full potential to reach an all-star level. It is a great opportunity to start developing the basketball talent at a young age, just like any other talent. Given the 3 T’s: Talent, Tenacity and Time, reaching the all-star level is guaranteed. A great way to start developing the basketball talent in you is by practicing all the Fundamentals like dribbling, passing, shooting, rebounding, and footwork.
“A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.” – Larry Bird
7. Optimal Health
“He who has Health, has Hope; and he who has Hope, has Everything.” – Arabian Proverb
The importance of a good spiritual, mental and physical health is paramount for the practice of basketball. There is no question about how limited an athlete is without being optimally healthy. There is so much we can do to stay healthy. Start by praying and being thankful for good health, eating nutritious, resting properly, and exercising to get in the best shape. The risk of an injury will always be there, but we can consciously manage that risk if we do these things to strengthen our health daily. All-star players are always concerned about their health and are constantly looking for ways to improve it.
8. Attitude / Mental Toughness
Just like rebounding and wins go hand in hand, a positive attitude is blended with mental toughness. You may have all the talent in the world and be very smart and motivated, but if you don’t have the right and courageous set of mind, you will not be very successful. Just like Lisa Brown describes it: “Mental Toughness is the profound ability to stay in control and triumph when facing setbacks, challenges, loss, and adversity.” It is the proven formula against fear and self-doubt. With mental toughness and a positive attitude, you will be confident and brave enough to be competitive and win under pressure.
“If you have a positive attitude and constantly strive to give your best effort, eventually you will overcome your immediate problems and find you are ready for greater challenges.” – Pat Riley
All-star players are usually very smart when it comes to play the game of basketball. You can follow their steps by doing the following:
- Listen to good advice from your coaches, your parents, and successful people.
- Know the rules of the game.
- Be creative in finding the right offensive plays on the court.
- Anticipate your opponents.
- Research and practice the correct techniques for every basketball fundamental.
- Study hard for school and aim for the best grades.
- Learning is a never-ending process; adjust as you go.
“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” – Michael Jordan
10. Persistent Hard Work
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.” Successful all-star players are always training hard and looking for ways to improve. There are really no shortcuts to achieve something other than consistently working real hard to get it. Even if you are not the most talented or smarter player, if you work really hard to get what you really want, you will certainly get it. Just never quit!
“I do now what others won’t so I can have later what others can’t.” – Michael Jordan
In addition, to get to the top, and stay at the top, you also need some virtues like Patience, and Humility. Remember: “To build a castle, is a difficult task. To defend it and maintain it, is even more difficult.”
If you want to become a super all-star player, you need to be passionate about developing and constantly improving all these qualities; the sooner the better.
What other trait do you think an All-Star player should develop? Which one do you think is the most important, and why? You can leave your answer in the comments section below.