Rookies To Legends: 6 Things An Aspiring NBA Player Needs To Become A Superstar


Basketball is undeniably one of the most followed sports in the whole world. Almost every country plays this sport, and many leagues exist in different regions. As such, many people’s eyes are on young talent that would enter the league and someday become stars.

If you’re going to talk about rookies and superstars, then LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are names you’d be familiar with. However, a lot of today’s NBA superstars weren’t above the radar when they started their NBA careers. For example, the great Manu Ginobili, Jimmy Butler, and Nikola Jokic were picked very late in their respective drafts. With their hard work, they rose to stardom and became stars in the NBA. 

Working hard and improving yourself is a sure way to become an NBA superstar. With that said, let’s find out the skills an aspiring NBA superstar needs to make it in the NBA.


Key Skills for Success in the NBA

In highly technical and tactical sports events like basketball, professional players need to possess fundamental skills to succeed. Let’s explore more of these “key skills” in the following sections.

  • Shooting

Mental attitude is one of the key ingredients to becoming a skillful shooter. Of course, you should be confident that you can carry out an accurate shot. Some would say that great shooters were born. However, for most successful NBA shooters, mastering the art of shooting takes time, dedication, and serious training. 

Pure shooters like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors are known for their flawless, swift jump shots. Although they lost, their team had notably had good NBA odds in their recent match against the Los Angeles Lakers last May 12, 2023.

  • Defense 

In the eyes of mere spectators, the offense is the greater part of the play. However, a team must develop an excellent defense to keep their opponent from scoring and gaining the upper hand for the rest of the game. 

Although defensive players don’t get the limelight as much as those who do well in offense, they are recognized and are valued stars for championship teams. An example of a great defensive player is Ben Wallace from the Detroit Pistons. Although he doesn’t score much and many regard him as one of the shortest centers in the NBA, he’s known as a legendary defensive menace that made even the best NBA stars think twice of shooting. 

  • Rebounding

Rebounding is one of the most critical skills a successful NBA player (especially if they’re a forward or center) should possess. With great rebounding skills, teams could turn the tide in their favor. 

There are 2 types of rebounds and some players do both well on it. A defensive rebound is when the team on offense misses and the defending team gets the ball after a shot attempt. An offensive rebound happens, when the team on offense gets the ball back after a missed shot attempt. 

Both rebounds are rewarding so it’s a pretty important skill to have. A defensive rebound can often result in an easy transition basket or get a defensive stop. An offensive rebound gives the opposing team another chance to score again. An offensive rebound also resets the shot clock to 14, giving the opposing team an advantage especially if time is dwindling and they’re ahead.

  • Passing 

Team sports like basketball rely largely on the players’ ability to work with each other toward scoring a point. This is where passing comes into the picture. Guards, especially playing the point or 1 position, would pass the ball to whoever is free to shoot it. However, in today’s game, forwards like Draymond Green and centers like Nikola Jokic are particularly great at passing, often having more assists than their point guards.

Knowing you’re not in the best position to score a point is essential in team sports. Passing the ball around and quickly looking for a teammate who can make an uncontested shot definitely promotes team building and increases a team’s efficacy on the court. 


Physical Conditioning 

Many would think that tall players always have an advantage on the court. However, a player’s height is just one of many deciding factors if they can play well. For better athletic performance, basketball players must take proper nutrition seriously. 

They need to consume food with adequate amounts of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and vitamins and minerals to help them recover more quickly after workouts and games and reduce the risk of injury.


Mental Toughness

Besides the body, NBA players should be mentally tough to succeed in games. Mental toughness is an acquired skill. This means that you can be mentally ready to play a game with preparation and confidence in yourself. 

There have been many times where promising college basketball stars make it to the league only to find themselves out of it in a year or two. Arguably, these players have the skills to make it in the league, but without mental toughness, they’re still bound to fail.



The road to becoming an NBA Superstar, let alone making it to the NBA, is a tough one. The skills mentioned above, are just a few of the things that aspiring basketball players should excel in to get to the league. Most of the time, it takes a complete repertoire of basketball skills to become a star in the NBA. A few examples of these “complete” players are Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, Kevin Durant, and Luka Doncic.

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