We’re often critical of NBA players here. Overrated players, overpaid players, bad players — we love pointing all of them out. The thing about any domain is that it’s easy to get tunnel vision. It turns out the NBA is very exclusive. Let me give you an example. I worked at Google, which is considered a very elite software company. It’s very hard to get hired and their interview process is known as very rigorous. Google currently employs roughly 50,000 employees. Last season the NBA employed less than 500! In fact, since it’s formal inception in 1949, the NBA has only had 3,638 players suit up! Here’s a fun representation:
Sticking to my field, three of the most prestigious software companies employ many more employees than the NBA has ever fielded. Now yes, not all of these employees will be “hard to hire” engineers. But even if we assumed only 25% of these employees were the elite that passed the hard interviews, the NBA still wouldn’t even be close! If the NBA keeps going for another 100 years, it still won’t have employed as many players as Google has software engineers.
I love hearing about certain players drive or determination when it comes to the NBA. Making the NBA puts any player in very special company. Even the worst NBA player is still one of the best basketball players in the world! And sometimes it takes a little outside perspective to realize just how great any given NBA player is.