This week's focus is on the trend of basketball moving away from the U.S. and more into European basketball leagues, the necessity for a professional player to adapt to change, and the importance of preparation as a backup player.
These days more and more American basketball players are looking to continue their careers overseas. In the past, this has generally been an option for players not talented or developed enough for the NBA, however more recently players have been using it for other reasons. Since Brandon Jennings started playing overseas professionally out of high school, many more players are likely to follow suit. As well, many players are also considering going overseas for the large contracts that American players are landing because of their status (e.g. Josh Childress). Even LeBron James has hinted that he may end up in Europe if someone offers him a lucrative contract. This trend has a clear effect on the shape of basketball in the world. Although the top players will continue to gravitate towards the American NBA, many American players are heading out and in doing so promoting the globalization of basketball. As basketball spreads out, it will be introduced to more people around the world and will only lead to an increase the number of talented ballers around the world.
The professional life isn’t always an easy one filled with the glamour that is portrayed on shows like MTV Cribs. Most of the players in the NBA spend years on multiple teams hopping around the country and sometimes even the world. This article goes a little bit into the life of an NBA nomad as he has moved from team to team. He is constantly on the road and it has made it difficult for him and his family. It shows the necessity of players to have to ability to adapt, not just in terms of the geographic location of the team, but also the playing style of a team. When a player moves to a new team, he must jump in and learn the tendencies and plays the team likes to run. It’s important to go into things with an open mind and be quick on your feet to learn and adapt to new things that will happen in the world of sports.
In a previous post, I mentioned the importance of being prepared as a backup. This is another example of the difficult, but crucial role that utility and backup players play. At any moment, they must be able to seamlessly step into a situation and succeed for their team. That's their role and their only real purpose. If they are not able to complete this task, then they are useless to the organization. These utility players come in unheralded, rarely see playing time, and don't get recognized when they succeed. only when they fail. This is the tough life utility players lead, but as Alex Cora explains, it is one that must be embraced and prepared for. If not, then a player loses their only chance of playing at the highest level.
As always, send your comments, questions or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org and enjoy this weekend's games.