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.