Each NBA team can have a maximum of 15 players, meaning that a maximum of 450 players are in the League at any one time. It is definitely hard work to get to the world’s premier basketball league, and players take a variety of routes to the top.
Symbolic player: LeBron James
The phenom is the can’t-miss prospect, touted for NBA superstardom even in his early teens. Players like James are coveted even before they enter high school, and they may jump straight to the NBA from high school like he did. They usually spend four years dominating lesser competition, drawing immense crowds (including NBA players and movie stars) and having their games televised nation-wide, giving basketball fans an early glimpse into their talents and potential.
In today’s NBA where players are required to be one year removed from high school before being drafted, they tend to be ‘one-and-dones’ who only attend one year at top college, just like Kevin Durant. Durant played high school hoops at powerhouses Oak Hill and Montrose before rounding up his youth career with an MVP performance at the prestigious McDonald’s All-American Game. He then had a very productive freshman season with the University of Texas, winning every conceivable National Player of the Year award.
This is usually followed by a number one selection in the NBA Draft and subsequent Rookie of the Year honors. Endless accolades and awards soon fill their trophy cabinets, as they chase the ultimate goal: the NBA championship. Of course, endless hours of hard work are still a requisite even for the phenom, with plenty of cautionary tales afloat whereby ‘surefire stars’ like OJ Mayo, Sebastian Telfair and Michael Beasley ended up being role players at best.
For a phenom to truly rise to the level of a LeBron James, a relentless hunger for success is a necessity. Today, the mantle falls on Ben Simmons, who was one of the most hyped high school players in recent history and who has been absolutely dominant in his rookie season. Basketball fans all over the globe look forward to see whether Simmons can step up and exceed the already-sky-high expectations in place for him.