Carving out a basketball career without necessarily having on-court talent


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So, you love basketball enough that you want to make it into a career? You don’t have to be the best player on the team on every level to carving out a rewarding career out of basketball. There are many employment opportunities for anyone with a keen interest in the sport, which is why we’re sitting in front of a computer writing about hoops than heading to practice with gear sent to us from Nike and Under Armour. Anyways, here’s  how you can make a career out of basketball with necessarily being John Wall or Kobe Bryant… or Robert Sacre.

Getting involved in the action as a player

The most obvious choice for working in basketball is to play on the team.

NBA stars typically make $2.5 million a year, with $23 million going to players like LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. As the NBA usually drafts players from college, the best route is to join your high school team, be good enough to make it onto a college team.

A great example of someone who beat the odds to play on a college team is Nick Minnerath, a player who had a few rocky years before going on to play basketball and launching his career as one of the NBA Development League’s most steady forces.


Maybe Not the NBA…

So you’re a tweener and maybe the NBA isn’t realistic. If you’re not against traveling or lviing in another country, there are several professional leagues in the world always looking for talent.  It goes without saying that practice is the most important thing you can do to further your career, but your talent is no good unless someone sees that talent.

With an agent, you’ll have to make sure you network with the right people, create a video of your highlights and send this to agents, managers and organizations with a resume showcasing your accomplishments, skillset and reliability.

Ok, maybe playing professionally isn’t for you either…

If you prefer organizing the game from the sidelines, perhaps coaching is the job for you. As with being a players, the salary depends on the level and experience you have. Coaches can earn anywhere from volunteer positions to $10,000 a year to $2 million a year.  Yes, that’s a huge range, but you have to consider an assistant coach in a rural town of 270 people all the way up to a head coach in the big leagues.

Many colleges offer bachelor degrees in sports management which will give you a great head start on coach training. Actually playing basketball gives you a much more rounded understanding of the game and this will help when it comes to planning game strategy. Try to get as much coaching experience as possible by working as an assistant while you get your certification. Once you have a proven track record of team wins you can start looking at coaching professional basketball.


For those with a head for details, refereeing can be a very rewarding job. To become a certified referee, you need to get a pass grade on a written rules exam and a floor test where you officiate live action.  The requirements for basketball referee certification vary from state to state so check out your local sports website to find out more. NBA referees can earn anything between $150,000 to $550,000.

Maybe not standing next to the players, but reporting from the sidelines?

If you love basketball and writing, combine them both by becoming a sports journalist. Practice by writing a lot, interviewing your local sports stars and creating articles for your local newspaper. Many sports fans start their own blogs which can attract a wide audience and give you a great platform to start from. But before you begin to build, make sure you have a firm understanding of the rules of the game and betting rules so that you can cover the games from a wide range of perspectives. Your efforts are very likely to pay off: sports writers can earn anything upwards from $49,000.

Also known as commentators, sports analysts deliver insight and information to fans using their vast basketball knowledge. Some sports analysts study journalism or broadcasting at college and become involved in their school’s athletic department. Others find a route into the industry via radio: record an audio reel of yourself commentating matches and listen back over it to find improvements. Start to distribute your audio to radio stations, TV channels or internet sites and look at selling ads to boost your revenue.


Dream come true… kind of sort of…

Last but not least, you can still be in the NBA without being in the NBA

The professional basketball league is a business after all. The NBA has the needs of any large company such as Microsoft, GM, Intel, Facebook and Kasier Permanente. There are open positions across facilities, operations, marketing, legal, finance, HR and Information Technology. So even if you struggle to hit a mid-range set shot consistently, you too can have a career in basketball.


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