Hoop Dreams Go Global!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I did not have to play basketball, but it has been a passion of mine for over twenty years. With a dedicated work ethic for basketball, a strong network, and a will to be successful, I am currently a professional basketball player in Europe. I have been playing professionally for seven years in countries such as Denmark, Greece, Germany, Portugal, Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom.

I’m often asked about the process of going from high school basketball to professional play abroad. The quintessential process is: Play College Basketball – Sign with an Agent – Agent gets you noticed by teams he or she is associated with. Your skills and talents take you from there to being signed with the team.[/vc_column_text][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1510441568965-3cc8226c-441b-0″ include=”1935,1942,1940″][vc_column_text]There are many advantages of playing basketball in Europe. First, you are paid well for what you love doing. I love playing basketball, every day is the weekend for me. Second, you are usually no more than a cheap, two to three hour plane or train ride away from a neighboring city or country. This past season I played in Manchester and was able to travel to Paris for 44 pounds round trip. Other advantages are: your team pays for your roundtrip plane ticket to the country and back to your home at the end of the season.Your salary is tax free, the team pays for your housing (House, apartment, or hotel) and you have an insane amount of free time.

On the surface this sounds like a great lifestyle with absolutely no reason to complain. However, there are many things that a person must adjust to when living in a foreign country. A few general and obvious adjustments include the language barrier (Non-English speaking countries) and cultural differences. One major cultural difference that I noticed in the countries in which I played is “personal space.” When compared to American personal space norms, Europeans stand very close. Also each country has their own unique, cultural norms. In some countries, it’s customary to have tea with certain meals. In other countries, bread is an essential part of the diet. Other cultures consider lamb, beef, and coffee in high regard.

When playing basketball abroad, there are also several job related issues a player should consider. For example, playing contracts are not as legally binding as they are with professional professional sports leagues in the United States. Teams routinely will cut a player, or withhold a player’s salary if the coaching staff perceive the player is not performing to an expected level. These decisions are subjective and the team has full discretion.

The International Basketball Federation, better known as FIBA, is the governing body for professional basketball overseas. FIBA has provisions in place where teams/players can go to arbitration to resolve any contractual issues, however that is not a deterrent as many teams still routinely breach contracts.[/vc_column_text][vc_media_grid grid_id=”vc_gid:1510441568970-eb591efb-ddea-0″ include=”1938,1937,1936″][vc_column_text]Playing internationally may appear interesting and fun when you view an international pro basketball player’s social media. You may be in awe regarding the places the player visits and adventures of having a life in another country, but those experiences come at the expense of stability. International professional basketball is an extremely nomadic business for a player. You have to be prepared to pack up and move at any given time. It can be for a variety of reasons, including better contract, financial issues, etc.

For me, after the first few months of being abroad, I considered it a grind to live in Europe!  I could not live in there for the entire 12 months of a year. Basketball is the easy part. The hard part is after those few hours of basketball, you have the rest of your time to live through away from your friends and family.

Within the last year, I have found more productive activities other than watching every television. I have been able to launch my business “Vindicated Sports, which educates prospective basketball players on what to expect when playing in Europe and how to succeed while there.

I am thankful to have had a successful professional basketball career with very few issues. I realize that God has blessed me and I tend to focus on the positive opportunities I’m afforded. This perspective has helped me tremendously on and off the court. The opportunity has been worthwhile! I realize I am still having experiences some people only dream of. For instance,

I am currently doing some work for Adidas developing basketball in China!

You can follow me on instagram @seymour_buckets14 to see where my basketball journey takes me next.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][/vc_column][/vc_row]