Defining An NBA Superstar

By: 10.11.13
LeBron James, Bill Russell

LeBron James, Bill Russell (photo. Instagram/miamiheat)

There are a lot of NBA superstars these days, but for which players is it a misnomer? There are obvious superstars and less obvious superstars, but what, exactly, is an NBA superstar? Let’s define it, then sort who fits into — what should be — the narrowest of designations.

The term “superstar” is one of the most misused words in the NBA. Too many players are pegged as superstars. In reality, only the elite should be called as such. Why is this? When did players like Blake Griffin and Paul George have this term attributed to them? The more players given the title, the less meaningful it becomes. Unless you’re the 2004 Detroit Pistons, it’s extremely hard to win a championship without a superstar. In fact, there are only seven superstars in league right now. But before I can get to who they are, I have to establish what makes a player a superstar.

A superstar is someone who can have a team built around him. He should be able to take them deep into the playoffs and be that guy you can depend on in the closing minutes. In order to attain superstar status, a player should be judged for his play on the court and not his life off of it. A GM would literally break is arm before trading a superstar. And if he was traded, the other team would have to give up everything — including the kitchen sink — to acquire him. Superstars are the face of the franchise, and you would be lucky if your team had more than one in a decade (unless you’re the Lakers…they always seem to have one). If a player is truly deemed a superstar, then he should keep this status for more than a couple of years, barring injury. This means they have sustained streak of greatness over more than just a couple of years.

Now that we know what a superstar is, there should be some players mentioned that weren’t quite fortunate to make the list.

*** *** ***

The Injury List
These are the players that have either once graced the short list of superstars or will soon, but have been derailed due to injury: Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade , Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love.

The Potential List
The players on this list are people that can become superstars in the next couple of seasons: James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry.

Honorable Mentions

Tim Duncan
Let’s face it, Duncan is at the very end of his career. Gregg Popovich limited his minutes a lot last season and even kept him out of the final seconds of regulation during game 6 of the Finals. But this doesn’t take away from what he has accomplished. A 14-time All-Star who is wearing four rings, three in which he brought home the Finals MVP. And if that isn’t enough, he has two regular-season MVP trophies and many deem him the best power forward of all-time. He was the centerpiece for the Spurs dynasty. The only reason he is left off the list is because his time is almost finished, and he can’t produce at high level every night like he used to (Ed. note: thogh he did make the All-NBA First Team last season)

Dirk Nowitzki
This man was definitely the star of the 2011 NBA playoffs. Everyone feared him. The Thunder looked like they were afraid of him and the Heat’s newly formed Big 3, couldn’t stop him. Two NBA Finals appearances and one championship, with a Finals MVP proved that Dirk was the greatest foreign player ever. He is an 11-time All-Star with four All-NBA First Team selections. The reason he’s off the list is due to injuries and diminished play over the last couple seasons. Unfortunately for Dirk at the age of 35, he probably won’t be back on the list again.

No more waiting. Here are the superstars of the NBA, who of no coincidence are the seven best players in the league. (Order of the list is arbitrary).

Click page 2 to find out…

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