July 23, 2024

The innermost thoughts of an American basketball player playing abroad

For those who have long wondered, the overseas basketball players association (OBPA) does not exist. In the event that it exists, nobody was aware of it. And for that reason, the life of a basketball player playing abroad is intriguing. It’s jam-packed with activities, events, and life lessons that, when they happen to you, never really make sense.

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Like myself, many American basketball players playing abroad had no idea what it meant to fulfill their basketball aspirations until they boarded that metal aircraft that flew across the continent. For instance, I had no idea, as a 24-year-old, that receiving payment in the form of stacks of purple 500 Euro notes stashed in an envelope behind a used Polish appliance store located four hours east of Berlin was the standard. Having said that, I had no idea that there would be two-mile lineups outside Central Gym for our packed Friday night Petoskey High School games.

I suppose that explains why I’m penning this essay on basketball abroad. It’s entertaining to reflect on my journey from 42-year-old ripened basketball banana to professional basketball player.

I suppose that’s the purpose of any experience, to want to cherish it, welcome it, and approach it with an open mind, like I did when I was playing hoops abroad.

Basketball, and sports in general, are wonderful because they help you break free from the outside world and your old, outmoded self. Trevor 1.0 would often find himself worrying about the past or speculating about the future. Free from uncertainty and worry, Trevor 2.0 lived within the basketball experience. Trevor 2.0 was very focused and strong, which made basketball an incredibly addictive game.

Top basketball leagues outside of the NBA in the world

1. The EuroLeague

Every year, the best European clubs qualify for the EuroLeague, which is the basketball equivalent of the Champions League in soccer. The teams spend the week playing in the EuroLeague and the weekends playing in competitions inside their own nations.

Regular season: from October through April

Teams for the current campaign: 16

Champions in the past: CSKA Moscow

Notable: The second-tier international league in Europe is called the EuroCup, and it is managed by the EuroLeague. A team can qualify for the competition by invitation from the EuroLeague, other competitions, and victory in their home league. A club may advance in the EuroLeague the following season by winning the EuroCup.

Watch this 6-foot-7 Real Madrid potential for the NBA. The 17-year-old guard Luka Doncic, a prodigy from Slovenia, has been a vital member of one of the top teams in Europe. The talk of the league has been his playmaking and scoring. Since Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls played for the same team, he is the greatest young player in the EuroLeague.

2. Liga ACB of Spain

Since its founding in 1957, FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have dominated the ACB (Asociaci?n de Clubs de Baloncesto), winning 51 of the 60 championships between them. Relegation in the ACB, like in many professional leagues outside of the NBA, entails the bottom two clubs in the standings being sent to LEB Oro, the second division, and being replaced by the top two teams in LEB Oro.

Normal season dates: October through May

Present-season teams: 17

Champions in the past: Real Madrid

Notable: The league has produced NBA All-Stars like Paul and Marc Gasol in recent years. Kristaps Porzingis, a player with the New York Knicks, most recently attended Seville before dominating the NBA in his first two seasons. Out of all the international leagues, the NBA had the most number of former ACB players—39—last season.

Doncic, an NBA talent to keep an eye on (see EuroLeague above)

3. The BSL, or Turkish Basketball Super League

Basketball was played in the nation for the first time in 1904, but the BSL wasn’t established until 1966. The league is receiving enormous financial support, and as a result, its level of play may soon surpass that of the ACB. Anadolu Efes of Istanbul and Fenerbahce are two of the top teams in Europe right now.

Regular season: from October through April

Teams for the current campaign: 16

Champion in rematch: Fenerbahce

Notable: Before moving to the NBA, former Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt enjoyed great success in Europe. He is presently the head coach of Darussafaka S.K. in the BSL and EuroLeague. In addition to the two-year contract he inked with the Turkish team, it is thought that he is collecting the $3.3 million that the Cavaliers owe him in the last year of his contract.

NBA talent to keep an eye on: The 6-foot-7 forward Furkan Korkmaz was chosen by the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft. When he was 19 years old, he was only getting 12 minutes a game for Anadolu Efes, the dominant team in the BSL. However, he was just loaned to Banvit, where he is now getting more playing time. This ought to help him advance as a player.