The Real Athlete Blog


Category: Life After Sports

  1. 10 Tips For Pro Basketball Players Playing Overseas

    by Corey Crowder 10-30-2011 11:58 PM Life After Sports | Athlete Career Development

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    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.


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  2. Something to Think About, Edition #3: Focus on what you save, not what you spend

    by Scott Kaminsky 10-23-2011 11:49 PM Finance | Life After Sports

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    As a Professional Athlete, if I gave you the green light to not worry about how much you spend, would you like that? If you knew that spending was not going to be an issue and you didn’t have to worry about being constantly told to watch your spending habits would that be appealing? If that sounds good to you, then I think you’ll appreciate this month’s Something to Think About.

    Professional athletes are constantly advised to watch their spending habits. I understand the reason as to why this is being said; that’s easy – too often, athletes go broke and it’s because they’ve spent far too much money. But I believe the typical approach to spending habits needs to be thought about differently and here’s the perfect opportunity for Something to Think About. 
    Why not focus on what you save as opposed to what you spend? Beyond that, by all means – spend! Spend 'til you’re blue in the face and you can’t spend any more! Now obviously, I’m exaggerating a bit. I’m not suggesting that you waste money; rather, spend as you would like to with the knowledge that you’ve saved enough money to last you through your lifetime.


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  3. Serena Williams’ Comeback: How tennis is like an interview

    by Eileen Wisnewski 08-28-2011 09:55 PM Life After Sports | Athlete Career Development

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    After overcoming so much, Serena Williams is back in the game. Serena’s struggle and dedication to return has impressed many, and her recent win at Stanford was thrilling to watch. When I look at relating career development strategies with athletics, I thought it would be fun to discuss some of the similarities that I have always seen between tennis and interviewing.
    Here’s a few:
    1. One player serves the ball and the other player returns the shot, volleying until a point is scored. 
    2. Sometimes the shots come fast and furious and out of reach, and others may seem easy and close – but players can still miss them. 
    3. The bottom line, as in any sport, in order to be triumphant, players must practice. 
    1. The Handshake:
    Just like tennis, interviews begin and end with a handshake. How is yours? It is important to have a firm, and ideally dry handshake. Both men and women should be aware of this – I have shaken a few men’s hands in my life that were weaker than my nine year old niece’s (actually, she is pretty tough so this might not be the appropriate comparison). It is very awkward to shake someone’s hand only to find a rag doll. At the other end of the spectrum, you don’t want to crush the other person’s hand just to demonstrate how much you’ve been working out. One tip is to try to quickly sense the strength level of the other person and gauge your response to that. The best handshakes are when the shakers’ strength matches up – just like tennis.
    2. Serve & Game:
    The recruiter “serves” with each interview question. A successful candidate will get the ball and send it back without too much struggle. However, interviews should not be a one-sided serve-hit process. Recruiters hope candidates will have a conversation, and not simply answer each question. The perfect interview should be more like a “base line” game – don’t rush the net when you answer the questions. Take time to think through your answer before you speak – set up your shot. In the semi-finals, Sharapova was quoted after her loss, “It certainly wasn't my night. She was serving and hitting so well and I was extremely late in my reactions. I felt sluggish. It was a bad day but it's also a reminder that I need to step up.” Candidates who are not ready will struggle to keep up with the interviewer, and likely lose the match.


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  4. The Missing Playbook: Former NFL Player and Alabama Star Keith McCants

    by Michael Cooper 07-11-2011 12:16 AM Life After Sports | Human Relations | Sports Psychology

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    It’s unfortunate to see another former athlete experiencing chaos, suffering, and pain in their life. Keith McCants, former NFL player, is currently living through depression and is suffering and being held hostage by his limiting and false beliefs. He went from having it all to feeling the pain of being at the bottom of the barrel. 
    "I wish I had never had any money," he said during an interview with The Tampa Tribune at the Pinellas County jail, where he has been held since April 23 on a fugitive warrant from Mobile. "I would've been great without money. It's a sad story, but it's a true story. Money destroyed everything around me and everything I care for, my family, my so-called friends. I just want enough to live on. I never want to be rich again."
    You see McCants has negative thoughts, ideas, and images of money that are blocking him from truly experiencing the peace of mind he seeks. He must tap into new information that will create new thoughts, ideas, and images of money. Money is good! Not evil. Money is ENERGY. McCants, along with 99% of all athletes out there, must learn how to direct the energy.
    "I'm trying, really I am," he said. Obviously McCants is operating from false and limiting beliefs. There is no trying. You either do or you do not. It’s all a matter of DOING THE RIGHT THINGS. McCants must get clear on what he wants. Make it definite. Then back it with definite plans. Then he can DO THE RIGHT THINGS and transform his life into what he truly desires. However, in his current state of THINKING, he will continue to experience chaos, suffering, and pain.



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  5. Athletes: Everything You Say Matters

    by Joe Jackman 05-18-2011 11:58 PM Life After Sports | Athlete Career Development | Image Branding | Marketing

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    Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall's recent tweets have resulted in athletic apparel maker Champion, terminating the NFL running back's endorsement contract that was to run through 2015.  
    Mendenhall made controversial comments about Osama bin Laden's death using the popular social media tool. He questioned why people would celebrate his death, and also seemed to question whether he was even involved in the September 11th attacks.
    Brand Before You Speak, Tweet, Act
    Some think this was an overreaction by Champion, others agree with the company. Regardless of where you stand, this is not the first time an elite athlete has paid a price for 'off the cuff comments.'
    What you say and how you communicate with fans, media, executives, and the business and sporting communities can make a huge difference in how people respond to you and your brand. What you say can help you/your brand stand apart from others, or as we observed by these unprepared and spontaneous comments, it can haunt you and your brand reputation.


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  6. The Miami Heat: Playing with Heart or Ego—which should be used when looking for a job or internship?

    by Eileen Wisnewski 04-18-2011 12:29 AM Life After Sports | Athlete Career Development

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    I must admit, being a New England fan, I don't necessarily follow the Miami Heat (except when they are playing the Celtics).  However, the media does.  Every win gets media attention and every loss gets even more.  When the early March losing streak unfolded, the media response reminded me of many initial reactions when the news broke about James, Wade and Bosh all playing on one team.  Some speculated that this would be the team to beat and they would walk away with the championship.  Others wondered if these three superstar players would be able to leave their egos at the door and play together unselfishly as a team.

    While the Heat and the "Big Three" were able to survive their first post-season test over the weekend, the question still remains whether they have been able to find the necessary chemistry for success and if they will ultimately silence the critics. 

    As I look to this topic for inspiration, it does speak to me about the difference between playing with your heart versus your ego.  Let’s talk about how this concept can be translated into the job or internship search with three situations that commonly occur.


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  7. Athletes, Find a "Life After Sports" PASSION While You Are Playing

    by Joe Jackman 03-29-2011 01:19 AM Lessons for Athletes | Life After Sports | Athlete Services | Coaching

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    Should I Stay or Should I GO?
    Peter Forsberg
    , winner of 2 Stanley Cups, 2 Olympic gold medals, and a former NHL MVP, is the latest athlete to try the "comeback". It lasted 2 games. Like Brett Favre and Michael Jordan before him, this is yet another great player to add to a long list that didn’t need the money and had difficulty knowing when the time was right to retire.
    Why Do Athletes RETIRE & Then Un-Retire?  
    For many of today’s stars that have been fiscally responsible individuals, they will never have to worry about their financial status. So why not go out on top? NHL Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee, Henri Richard, had this to say about retirement, “It was a dream, and everything I dreamed came true. Now my dream is finished. That’s a new life for me. Because what I do now, what I keep on doing is something I never dreamed of.”
    The REALITY of Retirement
    Retirement is a status for which professional players are often ill-prepared for, mentally and emotionally, and a position in life they never dreamt about. Not surprisingly, many world-class athletes mourn the passing of their playing days, the spotlight, locker room camaraderie, a purposeful life, and the structure their work provided.


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  8. Lawrence "Larry" Harris, from NFL Player to Opera Singer

    by Adam Steinberg 03-20-2011 11:43 PM Athlete Interviews | Life After Sports

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    In the NFL, there are certain rites of passage that all rookies must go through. Regardless of how high one goes in the Draft or how many millions their rookie signing bonus is, the “Rookie Show” on “Rookie Night” is where all players find themselves on equal footing in an attempt to entertain fellow teammates and impress the veterans, usually while embarrassing themselves in the process. All in good fun, and in an effort to win acceptance, most rookies tend to come up on stage and perform short skits or sing basic songs such as “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” or “I’m a Little Teapot.”
    But occasionally a performance stands out from the rest and shows that the athlete’s talent extends well beyond the confines of the gridiron. In 1976 when Houston Oilers’ rookie offensive tackle Lawrence "Larry" Harris took the stage, he gave one of those unforgettable performances. The 6-foot-5, 317 lb. rookie from Sherman, Texas, who was selected in the 7th round (197th overall) out of Oklahoma State University, shocked the audience when he sang one of his favorite Italian songs. On display was the rare juxtaposition of the brawny physique of a lineman and the dramatic voice of an opera singer. Harris recalls one of his teammates telling him, “People’s jaws were on the floor with their forks suspended in midair” when he opened his mouth and belted out lyrics in his powerful and captivating voice.  


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  9. Athletes in Transition: 5 Tips on How to Find Your Next Passion

    by Nick Murphy 02-21-2011 09:52 PM Life After Sports | Athlete Services

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    Transition Advice for Athletes by Former NFL Player Nick Murphy

    Transitioning from sports to business is about more than finding another job. For your whole life (or at least all that you can remember) you’ve been consumed by a passion to compete in a sport. While there are intramural leagues and co-ed softball tournaments aplenty, nothing will ever replace competition at a high level. The crowds, the noise, and the energy—they’re all irreplaceable.
    What isn’t irreplaceable is the passion for which you approached your sport. Will anything be the same playing on a NFL field on a Sunday in December? No, of course not. But once you’ve come to terms with this fact, your transition into the business world—the “real world”—will be so much easier.


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  10. Tony Gonzalez is on a mission to spread his all-natural lifestyle

    by Matthew Allinson 11-13-2010 06:17 PM Athlete Interviews | Life After Sports | Nutrition | Education | Sports Business

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    Tony Gonzalez never read when he was a kid. It wasn’t until he was going into his third year in the NFL that the All-Pro tight end for the Atlanta Falcons really started cracking open books, and he says it’s the best thing that ever happened to him.

    “You have so much free time on your hands and you got to make use of it,” said Gonzalez, who admitted to squandering his spare time during his first two years in the League. “You can look at it and go stale in the brain, which a lot of guys do, or you can do like a couple of the guys do, and make the most of your time here. You never know how long it’s going to last.”


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