This article is for American basketball players that have made a career out of playing outside of the United States, and find themselves without a job at the beginning of the season. Your season just ended 3 to 4 months ago, but now you are without a contract and the season has already started. I know what you are going through. I faced this exact thing maybe 6 or 7 times in my 14-year career, 12 of those years in Europe.
For whatever the reason, teams have overlooked you, and nobody has stepped forward to offer you a contract to play on their team. What do you do now, while your agent continues to offer your services to teams around the world?
I am writing this article, to give you some advice on how to deal with the uncertainty of future employment as a professional basketball player.
Here are 10 things you must do to stay prepared:
1. Stay in shape
a. You must continue to eat right and monitor your weight. You do not want your agent to call you with a contract, and you show up overweight and get sent back home. Therefore, you need to really monitor your weight.
b. Make sure your body is as healthy as possible to avoid injuries. If you have some type of injuries, make sure they are taken care of before you board that plane. I have seen guys be put right back on the plane because they fail their physical.
2. Play and workout everyday
a. Find a gym and play every day. You need to be putting up more shots, so that you will be able to step right into the job, once you land in that country. I have seen where guys got off the plane and went straight to practice or games. You will not be given a second chance to produce.
b. Do as many individual drills as you can on a daily basis.
c. Also, run more and more sprints to make sure you have your wind. If you cannot make it through a practice, you will be coming back home...without pay!
3. Contact your agent on a regular basis
a. You should at the least call your agent once or twice a week. Some agents have many players, and you could get overlooked for some new young stud, fresh out of college.
b. E-mail is a quick and efficient way to communicate with a busy agent. Most of them have smart phones now and they will get your message immediately.
c. Also, maybe ask about different countries, outside of their normal areas of expertise. Maybe they can work with other agents in different countries.
4. Budget your money
a. Really limit your spending to things that you only need to survive.
b. You may have just played your last game. Therefore, you need to make the money you have last as long as possible.
c. No more movies, eating out, gifts, joy riding, hanging out, buying expensive clothes, high telephone bills, 100 channels on your TV, barbeques at your home, etc. You get the picture.
5. Find something to occupy your time
a. Spend more time with your wife/girlfriend and kids. Now is a great time to catch up on the time you have not been home.
b. Give back to your community in some way. You should do some work with charities.
6. Take a full or part-time job
a. Look into taking a full or part-time job.
b. This would be a great time to maybe find work in the field you will pursue after your playing days are over. No better way to get experience and also start to build your resume. All I had on my resume when I retired was basketball for 14 years. It was difficult for me to find a job, and it can happen to you also if you do not start building your resume.
7. Do an assessment of your life
a. Take stock of where you are at in your life.
b. Some examples of this are:
i. How much longer will I play?
ii. Is this where I will call home, when I retire?
iii. How much money do we have in the bank, and how long will it last if I do not get another job?
iv. What do I want to do when I am done?
v. What can my wife do to help out during this time?
vi. Do we put the kids in school?
vii. Are all our passports up to date?
viii. Is there anything that will prevent me from taking a job if my agent called me today? Is so, then you will need to get these things taken care of immediately.
8. Start networking
a. Because you have been in Europe for some time, you may not have a network of people to help you once your career is over. Now is a perfect time to start building your network.
b. Focus on the people that have the power to help you move on to the second phase of your life. They will prove to be invaluable once you stop playing.
9. Stay positive
a. Keep a positive attitude.
b. Be careful of depression and of having a “why me” attitude.
c. You will constantly question whether or not you should fire your agent. Please make a wise decision because this could set you back even further.
d. If you indeed make a move to fire your agent, be professional about it. You may have to go back to the agent you just let go…once he has found you a job. I have seen this happen before.
10. Make an exit plan
a. There are a couple of exit plans that you will need to start working on. The first being the plan for when you get the call. Make sure you have someone that can take care of your bills, take care of your house and cars, take you to the airport, feed and take care of your pets...if they are not going with you, give notice to your employer, and assist with obtaining important medical documentation that you may need to enter a certain country. These things will and do come up, so make a plan to take care of them.
b. The second exit plan you will need to start making is the plan for life after basketball. I have NEVER seen one player that played forever…NEVER. The time that you have between jobs will be a perfect opportunity for you to start putting your plans down on paper. If you get a job, no problem. The most important thing here is that you have started to plot and plan your exit so that you will be prepared for when that day comes. And believe me, that day will come.
Good luck with finding a job and good luck with the rest of your career.
For help, I can be reached at: 1-888-714-1413.
Published 10-30-2011 © 2020 Access Athletes, LLCKeywords: Budgeting Your Money, Exit Strategy, Networking, Playing Overseas, Post-Athletic Career, Professional Basketball Player, Sports Agent, Staying in Shape