Basketball… My journey led me to France in the year 2000. There I played in the Pro B (2nd league) for a very ambitious team on the outskirts of Paris named Rueil-Malmaison. They wanted to move up to the Pro A (1st league) and were trying to put together a team to accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, I did not play there the whole season. After a rash of injuries by important players on the team, we hit a major snag and a losing streak was the result. Because I was the highest-paid player on the team, and I admittedly didn’t play as well as I could, I was let go. This was the first and the last time that I was let go and it was a tough pill to swallow. It is a business and I learned quite a few valuable lessons that season. I am thankful in a strange way for going through that. The experience of being fired was one of the contributing factors in my decision to write my book. I realized I knew NOTHING about what happens if you are let go, and I figured that many others would feel the same way. After I left, the problems did not change and the team did not make the promotion into the Pro A.
Life… Rueil-Malmaison is a suburb of Paris. I could see the Eiffel Tower from my bedroom window and it only took 10 minutes for me to drive from my apartment to the Arch De Triumph and the world-famous Champs Elysee street. Of course, living there was amazing! Paris is a world city and living there was incredible. I love big cities so Paris reminded me of New York. I got a chance to live somewhere that most people pay to visit on vacations! I grew fond of warm baguettes with salted butter, dipping croissants in hot chocolate, and cheese as a dessert haha. I also got used to enjoying meals that would last HOURS, full of discussion and wine. Living and playing there is one of those experiences I will always cherish and I have been back quite a few times because I love the city!
Next… I found a new job quickly after being released. I left Paris to play in Portugal for the first time. I finished the season at Aveiro Basket. I was fortunate to get a new job so quickly after being released in France and I was hungry to show that my experience in France had not shaken my confidence. Although I only spent almost three months in Aveiro, I was impressed with the people and the basketball there. Because I enjoyed it in Aveiro so much, it influenced the decision of where to play the following season.
Thank you for taking the time to read my words!