What Are the Duties of a Professional Basketball Player?
Professional basketball players are responsible for playing hard on the court in games and in practice and doing their best to represent both their basketball team and basketball league in public.
While NBA players may not have a contractual obligation to serve as role models for youngsters, a player's career path can be tied to how well or poorly that player represents the organization.
Effort in Games
Part of the basketball player job description is to play your hardest in each and every practice and game. Players may not play well every game, they are only human. Players go into slumps, they make mistakes, and they feel pressure. However, the effort must always be there. And when your play is in a slump, you can still control your work ethic, communication skills, how much of a team player you are, and how much hard work you are willing to put into your training sessions, games, and pursuit of championships.
This can be a difficult standard to apply full-time for each player. A professional athlete can have a stellar game and be in peak physical condition but look like he is playing at half speed. Another player may not fare as well, but he may be trying his best. Over time, however, a coach will know that a player is giving his best effort level by observing him on a daily basis.
Players on professional teams must report to practice and participate when they are scheduled by the coach. Some players will famously try to relax at practice and go through the motions. One of the most infamous examples was point guard/shooting guard Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers, who tried to defend his ordinary practice efforts in May 2002 by telling the media it was only practice. "We’re talking about practice, man, we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about practice," Iverson said. "How the hell can I make my teammates better by practicing?”
Coaches abhor players who go through the motions for practice, and need them to go hard every day, even if they are doing basic ball handling, dribbling, shooting, rebounding, defensive drills or physical fitness workouts that the players have been doing since high school.
Players are contractually obligated to keep information that pertains to the team and its business to themselves. This can be tricky, because players are contractually obligated to be available to the media, especially in big markets like Chicago and New York. However, they may never talk about proprietary information that pertains to the inner workings of the team because if they give this information out, it could give an opponent or competing business organization an edge.
Professional basketball players are required to disclose any injury information to the team and follow up with the team's medical staff. Teams do not want their players to "suck it up" and demonstrate their toughness by playing with an untreated injury- that’s not the proper problem-solving procedure in professional sports.
Teams demand that players reveal their injuries and get treatment. The team may ask the player to play with the injury or rest, but the medical professionals must know about it and have the opportunity to treat the injury.
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.