I get asked a lot of what-should-I-expect questions about playing ball, on different areas of the game. Here’s a list for when you start actually playing with a pro team.
- No one will try to motivate you. If you’re unmotivated, they’ll just fire you. Remember that overseas playing contracts aren’t guaranteed like in the NBA (for the most part). They can drop you anytime for any reason.
- Have an outlet for your free time. You will have lots of it, with 2-5 hours of “work” total on any given day. Have soenthing to do outside of that. Make it constructive and remember what people and the religious books say about idle hands/minds.
- It’s lonely. You may end up in a country in which you don’t speak the language, not many people speak English, and you need someone to talk to… And there’s no one. Great thing is we have the internet now, but who back home can relate? You’re pretty much living The Life, playing a game for money while they’re in the rat race at home. No one feels sorry for you. Here’s a solution…
- Make friends with other players who are abroad – preferably those who are ahead of you career-wise. This is one thing I wished I’d had: Someone to talk to when things were challenging. An older player can talk to calm and sense into you when you need it.
- Money can’t buy happiness. It’s true. Though you’re being paid, when you’re sitting in an empty apartment with no one to talk with in person and not many places to go and a possibly non-ideal playing situation, your bank account won’t make it OK. I know many pros who voluntarily cut their careers short because of this very reason. Some have kids and girlfriends or wives who matter more than the glamour of hoops. Only you can say what matters to you.