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Do NBA teams have captains?

In the NBA teams, there is always one player in the roster, who has more experience and leadership qualities than the others. They are known as captains. While it is not necessary to have a captain, plenty of teams decide to select the one.

Do NBA teams have captains? The majority of NBA teams do have captains, but it is not necessary to name one. According to the NBA rules, a team might have a captain and a co-captain, but the number should not exceed 2. The designated captain can be anyone from the squad.

Choosing a captain is difficult. You need to choose the player carefully. In this article, we will have a closer look at this topic and its peculiarities.

Are NBA captains necessary?

Having a captain is not an absolute necessity and requirement from the NBA, but coaches generally decide to appoint the one for several reasons. First of all, when you have a designated captain within the team, the squad is more united. Also, if there is an inexperienced roster with a lot of rookies and new players, the captain will serve as a mentor – giving advice both on and off-pitch. We can remember an example of Udonis Haslem. He has spent his entire career in the Miami Heat and while he was given a limited period of playing time in recent years, Haslem’s authority and reputation made difference, constantly taking care of the Heat’s players.

What are the duties of a captain?

The duties of any captain in the NBA can be divide into 2 categories: on and off the basketball court. A good captain should be productive in both. The NBA does not start or end on the court – it continues outside as well and captains are also needed here.

On the Court

The captain may not be the best player in the team. He might play for a limited amount of time only, but other qualities make a good captain on the court. It includes talking to referees regarding controversial decisions, stepping up for teammates, if there are misunderstandings with the opponents’ players. He should be a role model for young players.

If the captain is chosen primarily because of his skills and abilities then a true leader should lead the team in difficult situations. Captains usually make tough shots and take the responsibility of deciding the outcome of the game, if the game is brought to the last shot.

Off the Court

Captain’s role off the court is even more diverse. It can include everything – from private talks to personal training. The captain must make it easy for players to have direct relationship and contact with the coach. Leadership qualities are extremely important because otherwise, not everyone will follow your lead. The captain should be different from other players.

Memorable NBA Captains – What Makes Them so Special?

In the history of the NBA, we have seen a lot of incredible captains that have stayed loyal to the team and contributed to achieving titles. Let’s have a look at them and their deeds.

Kobe Bryant

We should definitely start our list with Kobe Bryant who has spent his entire career with the Los Angeles Lakers and was an undisputed leader. His Mamba Mentality, charisma and leadership are not comparable. Bryant is the epitome of what the captain should be like – both on and off the court. We can clearly remember how he was rooting for his players even when he was not playing. Clutch shots, taking over the matter in own hands in the decisive minutes is also a sign of a true captain.

Dirk Nowitzki/Jason Kidd

When the Dallas Mavericks went to the NBA Finals in 2011 against the Miami Heat, they were captained by 2 players: German Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd. It was a perfect mix of experience, that eventually lead the team to success. Nowitzki also spent his entire career playing in the ranks of the Dallas Mavericks, while Jason Kidd was already a veteran and contribute to the team’s young players by giving useful tips. This series also shown clearly how much choosing a proper captain can impact in the long run.

Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce was a captain of the Boston Celtics that set up a mesmerizing against the team’s long-term rival the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010. While the Celtics lost in a very close series, under Paul Pierce’s leadership, they delivered a great performance. Pierce, in his turn, played like a leader, taking decisive shots and even though his team ended up being beaten, he proved that having a captain is pivotal.

What are the characteristics of an NBA captain?

We have already mentioned several times, that a captain should be a voice of his team and a charismatic person. However, he should also possess several qualities:

  • Professionalism – by professionalism, we mean his attitude to work, training and to the team in general. Captains should be exemplary to other players, putting hard effort in training and mentoring others as well.
  • Experience – no one would follow a player who does not have experience. An NBA captain should already have years of playing under his belt. This is how the authorities are formed.
  • Skills – this aspect is not necessary, as the example, Udonis Haslem already showed you need to contribute to the roster in many different ways. It is only a plus if a captain has strong offensive and defensive capabilities, that will further cement his status as a top player but not really required.