© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Some people forget or are unaware that there are approximately just 450 players in a given NBA season. This makes it one of the cutthroat sports leagues in the whole world. Raymond Felton, who spent 14 years in the NBA, made sure kids harboring league dreams understand that making it to the NBA isn't as easy as making your high school varsity team.
Felton was at a youth basketball camp where he gave kids a serious lecture on his journey to the NBA. He noted that getting drafted is not the dream since that's where everything starts. He also pointed out the thousands of kids with NBA dreams that aren't just your colleagues but your competitors. And just like any good teacher, Felton connected to his audience by integrating the latest trends in his monologue.
"Everybody say they want to be in the NBA… But are you willing to do what it takes? TikTok, Instagram, video games: Are y'all willing to let all that go?" Felton said.
The last time he donned an NBA jersey was in the 2018-19 season. So it's understandable that Felton looks out of shape. But this doesn't mean the kids shouldn't take his advice seriously. The man was a very good point guard during his heyday.
Felton's words are golden, especially when he pointed out that getting drafted is one thing. Staying in the league is completely another endeavor. Being a top lottery pick may guarantee a few years in the NBA. But we've heard of all the undrafted players who seemingly rise out of the ashes to become all-Star role players.
Felton is a member of the 2005 NBA Draft Class. Scroll through the first 10 picks and discover that only Chris Paul is considered an all-time great. The other names had several good years but did not enjoy a fruitful careers like Paul.
Look at picks 11 to 20 and discover that some names are unfamiliar and may not have even donned an NBA jersey. This exercise is not meant to disparage them. But rather to emphasize Felton's point. Nothing is guaranteed in the NBA. If you want to make it, you have to be at least the best basketball player in the nation at one point in time. If you are number two, it means you have been slacking off.
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