Congratulations on finishing your senior season! If you are now looking to play basketball professionally overseas, here are five steps you should take to get you off in the right direction. Here is a pro tip, be proactive and be ready to invest time. Do not wait to be “discovered” because it most likely will not happen.
- If no agents are seeking you out, you have got to find an agent to represent you. However, this is easier said than done and will take considerable time and effort on our part. Finding an agent is perhaps the most important step, and is definitely the difference between living check to check and earning a living overseas.
A good agent can help you navigate the complex world of international basketball, negotiate contracts, and get you noticed by teams. All agents have a vested interest in finding their client’s jobs because that is the only way they get paid. I would warn against having multiple agents to whom you are not signed for, especially for players just entering their careers overseas.
Read my blog entry below entitled: Why I Hate Agents “Helping Players”.
- Without a resume, highlight film, and RECENT game film, you will greatly decrease your chances of finding an agent to represent you. Teams will also be hesitant unless you have a personal connection with a coach or GM.
There are specific ways of writing a resume and also a specific way you should approach agents and teams. There are also specific times when it is advantageous to do so. Just randomly firing off copy and past emails to agents and teams are a waste of your time and energy because the results will be very unsatisfactory.
- Research is key! Look up which countries or leagues might be a good fit for your skills and goals. Consider factors like location, level of competition, and salary. Also, take into consideration how the team performed last season if they changed their import players a lot, and if there have been recent coaching changes. The more you inform yourself, the better off you will be.
Do not rely only on your agent to feed you information because they will have other clients to attend to so they likely will not have time to educate you adequately. It is your career, do more than what you do in the gym to get yourself ready and prepared.
- Start networking with people that may be able to help you. Talk to coaches, agents, and former players who have experience overseas. Ask questions. These people can give you critical insights into things you may not know.
If you know someone that played overseas and had an agent, ask if they can put in a good word with that agent for you. I call this “Friend Vouching”. I have also written a blog about this topic that might be useful.
- Lastly, a very undervalued piece of information that may help get you in the door of certain countries, and possibly make you more valuable is to find out if, in your family bloodline, there is someone that is a citizen of another country.
For example, if your mom or dad is Italian, it could be that you will be able to obtain an Italian passport. Having that passport would mean that you would be an EU citizen and would be valuable for many teams.
Be warned though, the process usually lasts a long time and is sometimes costly. Advice from a lawyer would be suggested.
The sooner you get yourself informed, the better. If you need some help with this process please do not hesitate to contact me. Let’s talk…