I hadn’t planned to write today, but a conversation with a player who’s yet to experience overseas basketball prompted me to address one of my biggest pet peeves when speaking with players.


Yes, I resorted to bold, all caps for emphasis. Let me elaborate, and I’m certain many overseas pros will resonate with this sentiment.

Claiming, “I dominated so-and-so during summer ball…” as grounds for deserving a contract overseas isn’t grounded in reality. Here’s why.

The Overseas Game: A Different Beast Altogether

One of the main challenges arises when players draw parallels between their performance against overseas hoopers in non-professional settings and the reality of the overseas basketball landscape. Here’s why the comparison falls short:

1. Roles and Responsibilities:

  – Overseas players often have specific roles within their teams, tailored to their skill sets and the team’s strategy. Your encounter in a local pro-am might not reflect the player’s true role overseas.

2. Game Style and Rules:

  – The overseas game operates under different rules and styles, from officiating standards to tactical approaches. Adapting to these differences is crucial for success, and excelling in a casual setting may not translate to success overseas.

3. Competition Level:

  – Overseas leagues feature a diverse and high-level pool of talent. A player’s success overseas is not solely determined by their performance in local leagues, but by their ability to thrive in a professional and competitive environment consistently.

The Danger of Unfair Comparisons

Making blanket statements about being on par with overseas hoopers based on sporadic encounters can be counterproductive for aspiring players. It’s crucial to recognize the myriad factors that contribute to a player’s overseas success:

1. Different Paths, Different Journeys:

  – Players take diverse routes to secure overseas opportunities, and success is often attributed to a combination of skill, adaptability, perseverance, and networking.

2. Roles Matter:

  – Success overseas is not solely about scoring points or showcasing individual skills. Understanding and fulfilling team roles are paramount.

3. Respect the Overseas Game:

  – The overseas game demands a unique skill set and mindset. Respect the differences, and don’t underestimate the challenges that come with adapting to a new basketball culture. There is more to playing overseas than just being able to hoop.

In the world of overseas basketball, it’s vital to avoid the trap of comparing casual encounters with the realities of the professional game. Rather than dwelling on encounters in local leagues, focus on refining your skills, understanding the overseas game, and forging your own path toward a successful career. After all, your career on the court should speak louder than any isolated matchup.

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