Sometimes I get some form of the following message from a professional or overseas basketball hopeful:
I played ________ (levels & leagues played in), and __________ (stats of level of performance in said leagues), but I’ve never played/tried to play G-League/Overseas. All my friends and family tell me that I’m good enough and that I should, though. How do I get started?
Don’t get started.
I say this not because I think you’re lying about your game and skills (though you might put a bit of sauce on your resume; I’m not mad at you for it). You probably have at least some basketball potential. I doubt that your loved ones are telling you what they tell you with hopes of setting you up for failure.
The reasons why their feedback is not enough of a motive for you to “get started” on playing pro:
- Your friends and family don’t know shit about professional basketball. They don’t know how much of a meat market the Overseas basketball game can be. They don’t know how to deal with agents or about choosing overseas exposure camps or networking for your career advancement — all of these being things you’ll be doing before you’re even on a team. Can any of your family or friends offer useful, knowing-from-experience advice on any of this? Their “advice” is about what you can (presumably) do on the court. While you may or may not be pro material on the court, a lot of the overseas basketball business, for players from smaller schools or no school, is off-the-court stuff. Yeah, family will clap for you once your foot is in the door, but they don’t know how hard it is to even get in there in the first place.
- If these people’s urgings are the #1 reason you have for aiming to play pro or overseas basketball, you need a better reason. What other people say you should do is not a good enough reason to choose a career in anything. A bunch of people saying you’re good at something does not qualify you to make money doing that thing. If you really believed that you’re check-receiving material in basketball, you should have been hustling already.
- Getting in is a much harder process than you or any of your fans think it is. I wrote a book to help you out, and it’s still not guaranteed that you’ll get on.
Your friends and family mean well and want the best for you. But they don’t know what goes behind the glitz and glamour of playing overseas, and they aren’t the ones who’ll have to do all the dirty work to get yourself on a basketball court in the pros. Appreciate their compliments and let them boost your confidence, and understand that when you want to get in the professional game, you’re on a long road, that you’ll be traveling (mostly) alone.