Play high school varsity basketball and excel at your position. Earn all-league, all-state or All-America honors to attract national recognition. Colleges and NBA scouts track the best high school players, especially tall ones.
Earn a basketball scholarship to a four-year university, preferably one with a national reputation in the sport and a well-respected coach. Become a standout player in whatever conference the university plays in, or become one of the national leaders in statistics, such as field goals, rebounds or 3-point shots. Success at the collegiate level could lead to getting drafted by an NBA team.
Ask your college coach to talk to NBA scouts about you. Assemble a highlight reel of your best plays to submit to an NBA scout, along with your coach’s recommendation. NBA scouts sometimes hold individual tryouts, but these require the strong recommendation of a respected coach, professional player or another scout. An NBA team that is interested in you might place you in the Development League and monitor your progress.
Earn an invitation to an NBA tryout, such as the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament. NBA scouts evaluate players during the four-day tournament. The Portsmouth Invitational is as close as you can get to an NBA franchise tryout without being a recognized draft prospect.
Contact the NBA Development League through their website. Information concerning national tryouts for the league will be posted on the site's homepage. The D-league, as it is called, functions like an NBA minor league. Each D-league team is affiliated with one or more of the NBA franchises. Players who excel are “called up” by the affiliated franchise to play in the NBA.
Contact the International Basketball League to find out when they hold open tryouts. The IBL is a minor league unaffiliated with the NBA, but it is known for being a resource for scouts and coaches from professional teams all over the world, including the NBA.