What Are Some Requirements to Become a Basketball Player?

San Antonio Spurs v Phoenix Suns

There are no concrete requirements for becoming a professional basketball player. Anyone can freely play the sport, whether you simply want to shoot some hoops in the backyard in high school or have aspirations of one day having your own line of basketball sneakers and a million-dollar contract with your favorite NBA team, like the New York Knicks or Boston Celtics.

But there are several factors — some of which you can control, and others you cannot — that will play a key role in determining how far your hoops career can go, whether that be high school basketball, NCAA college basketball, or the National Basketball Association itself.


A basketball team is usually very easy to spot in an airport- especially professional teams: They're the tall guys.

More so than any other sport, basketball is a game for tall people, and the best players are almost always taller than the average person. The average American male stands 69.4 inches tall, or a shade below 5 feet 10 inches. The average American woman, meantime, is 63.8 inches — nearly 5 feet 4 inches.

But these typical heights would often make you the smallest player on a basketball court with professional athletes, and even most college players. A typical NBA center stands in the 7-foot range. Point guards, who are the smallest players on the court, often are above 6 feet tall. The reason: A basketball hoop is 10 feet high; so the taller you are, the more of a built-in advantage you'll enjoy compared to other NBA players.

Memphis Grizzles v Chicago Bulls


In order to become a successful basketball player in any level of basketball league, you need to have excellent endurance. In a study performed by the Victoria University of Technology and Australia, players performed 105 "high-intensity efforts" in a standard game, lasting an average of 14 seconds and elevating heart rates near peak levels.

It's a fast-paced sport that at times can resemble a track meet in its near non-stop sprinting. Add to all of that the running, jumping, physical contact, dribbling, and other required body motions and you've got a sport for which you need to be in good shape to play well with little timeouts.

It takes a lot of hard work to build up the endurance to play basketball, but players from 8 year-olds all the way to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant all had to do it to be successful.

Utah Jazz v Los Angeles Lakers

Athleticism and Agility

While height and endurance will aid your cause, basketball also relies heavily on athleticism. Basketball players and potential NBA Draft picks often have a prodigious leaping ability, which aids in scoring, rebounding and blocking shots. It also helps you to be agile; the sport requires the ability to change direction frequently and suddenly, often while performing some kind of ball handling.

In fact, a study conducted by the National Center of Medicine and Science in Sports in Tunisia identified agility as a distinct commonality among the sport's elite players.

Cleveland Cavaliers v Memphis Grizzlies

Strength and Toughness

Though basketball isn't considered a "contact sport" in the same way football is — you can't tackle a basketball opponent without being penalized — it does involve a good deal of physical contact.

If you don't have the strength and toughness to keep your opponent from overpowering you on both offense and defense, you might struggle to succeed when you play basketball. Mental toughness and being a team player is important as well; you must have the ability to keep playing with peak confidence even after missing several shots in a row or allowing your opponent to score baskets against your team.