What is a superstar?
Here is my opinion on the matter. When it comes to determining superstars, I look at 8 aspects.
Skill, Potential, Mental Toughness and High Basketball IQ(both usually come together, so I put them together), Killer Instinct, Impact, Consistency, Stats and Intangibles. When it comes to superstars, intangibles are more of an added bonus, but for a lesser player they can make up for certain things. I also have categories for certain players; Superstar, Borderline Superstar, All-star...
Lets look at players who without a doubt we would call a "superstar".
Skill- Very skilled scorer and defender. Decent if not good at everything else.
Potential- His potential was very high, obviously and I believe he reached it.
Mental Toughness- He had it or he wouldn't of been able to lead his team to a Championship. Remember the flu game? Didn't let criticisms bother him. He rather used them as motivation.
Killer Instinct- Yes, we all know how often he was able to take over late in a game.
Impact- Without him the Bulls didn't win 6 Championships.
Consistency- He was consistent at everything he did.
Stats- Put up superstar like stats his entire career. Averaged around 30 points.
Intangibles- I think his intangible was the intensity he played with. He got under people's skin. He had a desire to be the best and tried to. I could mark that as an intangible.
Skill- Very skilled at scoring, rebounding and defending. Had good foot work. Decent free throw shooter and passer...
Potential- Despite not being that athletic, he was still big and found ways to dominate games through his skill. I think Duncan reached his potential.
Mental Toughness- He could handle losing, winning... He could handle pressure.
Killer Instinct- Yes, he had it and showed it in the most quiet and boring way I've ever seen.
Impact- He was the best player on the team. The Spurs are "his" team. Without him they don't win a single Championship. He was the focal point of the Spurs defense and Offense. He fails and the team fails.
Consistency- Very consistent with the exception of his free throw shooting. Not enough of an inconsistency to take away from his impact on the team and game though.
Stats- You dare argue against 21, 11, 3 and 2 for his career? Those are superstar like #'s for a big-man.
Intangibles- I think his intangibles were patience and being able to dominate and win in the most quite and humble way.
Skill- Great scorer, good rebounder and passer, decent defender, for a big-man. Although, he relied much on his massive size to dominate.
Potential- Was very high and he never reached it. He could have been even better had he a better work ethic.
Mental toughness- Shaq surprisingly to me can handle the pressure of losing. He's great in the playoffs too. That's why people always say "he was built for the playoffs".
Killer Instinct- he had it for sure. He was often the guy his teams would go to late in the game because he was great at drawing fouls and just great at powering his way to an easy bucket.
Impact- Shaq was one of the most dominating players ever. His huge size caused triple teams and that still wasn't enough. He was the main man from 0-02 in winning Championships for that Laker team. His impact was so great that I can't possibly say he isn't a superstar because he never reached his potential or he wasn't consistent enough in the regular season. Had he though, than without a doubt he would be the best center ever.
Consistency- Injuries and laziness took away from this, but when it mattered most he stepped up and won 4 Titles.
Stats- Look at the 99-00 season, just amazing.
Intangibles- He was funny? He was giant?
Lets look at "borderline superstars".
Skill- He is a very good scorer and passer for a guy at his position. He's decent at everything else. I'm afraid he relies too much on his athleticism to dominate games.
Potential- If he can get his act together he could be a better rebounder and defender. He needs to gain that mental toughness as well. Lebron has a very high potential. With his body he could be the best. Does he have the mind though?
Mental toughness- doesn't have it. He isn't good at handling pressure. He doesn't have the smarts like Bird, Jordan, Kobe... all have. He doesn't have the mind of a superstar, never has. This is the reason he isn't one. If he did have this than he would have won a Championship by now.
Killer Instinct- He does have it as evidenced by his performance against the Pistons in 07 playoffs. If he had the mental toughness to go along with this he would be deadly, but because he doesn't I'd pick Kobe over him in some fantasy draft.
Impact- his great athleticism can have a mighty impact on the game and the Cavs won't win 40 games without him, however it's not enough to cover for his weaknesses. Shaq who shared some of his similar weaknesses had a much greater impact on the game. I would have more fear going up against the Shaq of 2000 than I would against the Lebron of today.
Consistency- He's pretty consistent at putting up those crazy stats.
Stats- I just said they were crazy.
Intangibles- Don't think he has any. Of course that isn't whats keeping him from being a superstar.
Skill- very skilled when it comes to shooting, passing and even scoring. Poor defender.
Potential- Compared with other great pg's his potential isn't very high. Just look at him. He isn't big or athletic and he has back problems. It's his excuse for not being a good defender. Could Nash be a better defender had he put more work towards it? Perhaps, but not enough to make a difference. He'd still be bad. I think he reached his potential.
Mental toughness- Of course Nash has got it. He can play despite being hurt. He can handle the pressure of the playoffs. Over all he is a good playoff performer, however, he lacks one thing that keeps him from being a superstar and it's a must have.
Killer Instinct- Nash doesn't have it. He sometimes does, but not always as if he doesn't know when to turn it on and when to turn it off. Too many times I see him passing when he should be shooting because he can. I like what he did in game 5 of the Suns/Lakers series last season. I want to see more of that. Although, I never thought his teams were ever good enough to win a Championship, I feel if he had this than we might have won a Championship already.
Impact- Nash can dictate games from the start and sometimes take over games in clutch situations. His impact isn't great as superstars because he lacks the "killer instinct". However, without him the Suns are nothing. He makes players better and the team is generally better with him on the court. This is enough to make up for his poor defense.
Consistency- Nash is pretty consistent. I've never heard anyone ever say he wasn't consistent nor thought so myself. We know what to expect from him each night and he gives us that.
Stats- For a PG his stats are pretty good.
Intangibles- Intensity, especially in the playoffs, gosh, if he could find that killer instinct he would be severely deadly because he's also mentally tough. He'd be a superstar without a doubt and would probably win a Championship. Flopping is another intangible. Nash knows how to do it and he usually never gets caught. Things like that change a game.
Notice how Shaq, Duncan, Jordan,.. all have rings and how Lebron, Nash... don't? Well, there you go. Lets get a conversation going.
Would you really put Lebron, Nash and others in the same category as Jordan, Kobe, Duncan, Hakeem, Shaq, Magic, Bird...?
On another note, borderline superstars and even some all-stars can still make the Hall of Fame, so don't worry, Nash will be in it.
Right now, I'm trying to figure out what category to put Manu Ginobli in. Borderline superstar or all-star?