Let me clarify what I mean by a Professional basketball player. Technically anybody that receives some form of payment for playing basketball can be considered a professional. In my mind what makes Mo a Professional basketball player is his ability to make his jump-shots when he is open. It sounds stupid and simple, but how many times have you seen NBA players miss open jump-shots the last 15 years? I know the stats show the M0 has been in the top 5 the last 2 years in FG% on 2-point shots, but I would love to see his FG% for shots he has taken while left open. Anytime I see him raise up for a shot when left open I feel about 90% confident that he is going to make that shot. That's what makes him a Professional. I expect Professionals to be at the top of their game and do things consistently that I couldn't do. I would never be able to consistently hit a jump-shot in an NBA game, let alone any other form of a basketball game. Whenever he makes one of those jumpers I'm always thinking, "I'm glad my team has that Professional basketball player".
Obviously this isn't to say that Lebron or any other NBA'ers are not professional basketball players, this is just a type of classification for basketball players. Some players are born to play the game: Lebron. Some are born with the genetic size to play the game: Varajeo and Big z. Some are born with IQ to succeed at the game: Eric Snow. Some hustle and work their tails off to play the game: Delonte. And some, like our friend Mo, have taken the time to hone their shooting touch so that they don't waste the opportunity of an open jumper. How many times have you seen Allen Iverson miss an open jumper? Anytime I see him raise up for a jumper I give the shot a 40% chance of going in. Even when Lebron shoots I give it about a 40% chance of going where it's intended. But with Mo that confidence level skyrockets. Derek Fisher is another player that elicits this type of confidence and for historical examples I will point our Steve Kerr and John Paxson. All good players, not superstars, but absolute Professionals in their field.
The confidence that I have in a shooter is what makes them a Professional in my mind. So next time Mo nails a 3 or an open jumper just think to yourself, "man, I'm glad my team has that Professional basketball player" and take another sip of your PBR in celebration.