My first team treated me amazing. I loved my rookie year. But when it was time to go home I learned what a work visa was. To stay in any country longer than 90 days you need a work visa. If you’re in a country longer than 90 days you will be considered an illegal immigrant. If you’re caught you can be fined, they can take your passport and even restrict you from coming back into that specific country again. Like most things about this basketball world, I learned that the hard way. I was in Portugal from September to April. Wayyyyyy longer than 90 days. Some teams try to avoid getting visas for their imports because it’s another expense. The Christmas break usually comes a little before or after 90 days. Some countries let it slide and others are more strict. So prior to arriving or within a month of arriving you should make sure your team has taken care of your visa.
PSA** if you don’t have an agent there will sometimes be people contacting you on Facebook or via email about jobs. If you’ve made a little noise your senior year it’s likely. But please beware of the number one scam in Europe right now. There are people promising players contracts. Selling them dreams and then prior to the players arrival they tell them that they have to pay for their own visa. So say Julio Gonzalez from Spain contacts you. Like “hey I sent your stuff to this team. They love you. They want you to sign with them. Here’s the contract”. Boom they send you a contract that looks pretty standard. Make the necessary adjustments. You sign it. They tell you “ok cool. I’ll speak with the team and let you know when your flight is”. Boom. You’re thinking you’re in. Mission accomplished. A few weeks later they tell you you have to pay for your own visa. Either because the team can’t or that they’ll reimburse you once you arrive. You send the money and never hear from them again. If a team can’t pay for your visa, how can they possibly pay you your salary. Now don’t get me wrong there are exceptions but try your hardest to avoid paying anybody any money. If that’s the case tell them you can’t afford it and to wire the money to you. Or that it can be handle when you arrive. Don’t be naive. Trust me I’ve been through every kind of swindle, because these people are preying on the fact that you’ll do anything to live your dream of playing.
Now just like college, overseas is what you make it. I always say overseas is like college without the books. You meet new people, you’re away from home, you can party, and you get to hoop. Most overseas hoopers spend a lot of their time online watching tv shows, movies, NBA games, social media and more. At the end of the post I’ll post some websites where you can watch everything. Some teams do two a days and others don’t. So basically 5 hours tops you’re in the gym. The other 19 hours a day you’re free. Some teams do basketball clinics and events in their respective cities that you have to attend, but for the most part you’ll be in your house. UNLESS you choose to embrace the culture, make friends, explore your city / country and live in the moment.
Some hoopers come overseas and are in relationships so they don’t go out much. They’re always on the phone with their significant other. Staying up all hours of the night because the time difference is usually 4-8 hrs ahead. And don’t get me wrong there’s nothing wrong with talking to bae, but you have to enjoy yourself too. You don’t want to be miserable because then everything will seem like it’s dragging out. The happier you are and the more you enjoy your experience, I promise the better season you’ll have. Overseas seasons are usually August/September to May or later depending on playoffs. It’s a longgggggg season. So with that being said you have to be sure this is what you want to do. Because there’s a lot of bs that can occur. You have to be passionate enough to not just say f this and pack your bags. Your passion and dedication is what will hold you down when things get tough.
Now the overseas experience ain’t always so peachy. You can experience a lot of dumb stuff. Your team can be shady and not pay you on time or at all. Your living situation may not be the best. Your team might suck and y’all might lose every single game. Your coach might be terrible. You may even experience a little bit of racism in your country. Especially male hoopers. You may even be on a team where one person speaks English. So most times you’re left out or not sure what’s going on. Man your house might not even have enough water pressure to take a nice lil shower lol. Ooooohhh another thing you need to be prepared for is the fact that whatever training room and trainer you had in college or previous team is no more. Teams rarely have real training staff. You’ll have to improvise on your Ice baths and hot tubs. Some teams pay to give you access to a spa of some sort. Or there may be a trainer present for games only or twice a week. But unless you’re on a top notch team be prepared for the STRUGGLE.
I don’t want to sound all negative. Because I honestly love being overseas more than America. I’ve met some amazing people. Both Americans and Europeans. I’ve done and saw things I never imagined. It’s a wonderful experience. Especially if you’re on a team that’s winning. Or around some great individuals that care for you like you were their own family. I’ve done everything from zip line off cliffs to eating live snails. You just have to think of it as a once in a lifetime opportunity. Buttttt at the same time I just want you to be aware of some of the things I mentioned. You may have a totally different experience but, now you’ll also know or have something to compare it to.
Some other things other hoopers suggested I should mention in this post:
Don’t necessarily be money hungry your first year. Some rookies are making from 500$ a month to 5000$ a month. If you’re doing it for the money you may end up in a terrible situation being money hungry. Or you might not even get an opportunity at all. Its about the grind and living the dream. Kill your first year and then demand the big bucks.
Another thing suggested was to adopt good/healthy eating habits. You also might want to learn how to cook. There’s a chance you might not like the food in your country. And I doubt you’ll like eating McDonald’s every day. You could even adopt the European eating habits. Like I mentioned you may have a very old teammate – about 40 who’s still playing. Simply because their body allows them to cause they’ve been eating right since young. I had a 41 year old teammate that started and averaged a double double.
Patience is a MAJOR KEY young grasshoppers. It took me 2 seasons to get a European deal. I know some people who finally got on after 8 years. Depending on your profile and film and how hard your agent works it’s all going to be a waiting game. It’s very important to have a plan b, c and a part time d plan if you need a lil money in your pocket while you wait. The most important thing though, is to stay ready while you’re waiting. That call can come at any moment. And if you’re not prepared they’ll send you right back across that water. They can hit you or your agent Monday and by Wednesday you’ll be on a flight
Also, you have to be mindful of who you trust while overseas. People are sneaky and can take advantage of you. My second year in Portugal me and my American teammate got robbed simply because someone knew where we lived and also our practice schedule. A friend of mine kept all of his salary in his house to take home for the Christmas break. Right before the break one of his native teammates robbed him cause they knew he hadn’t been sending his money home. There are ways to handle your money while overseas. You can get an account in your city and transfer the money to your American account. Or you can get it in your contract that the team will transfer your salary. What I ended up doing was splitting it up. Having them give me whatever I needed for the month and then transferring the rest to my American account. Western Union and Money Gram can get expensive, but you can use that if you like. They have some crazy fees though. Another FYI the most amount of money you can take on a plane is 10000$ dollars. So if you’re considering keeping your money until the break or when you go home keep that in mind.
You want to also be sure of your health. Because in addition to probably not having a trainer, their hospitals and stuff do things very different than America. They’re not as up to date with everything. You might be used to a certain treatment and they might just rub your forehead and give you an ibuprofen lol. You should also make sure the country allows whatever illness you may have if any. Like diabetes or MS.
Ummmm I think that’s all I got for you guys right now. If you made it this far and read it all the way through, it’s much appreciated. I really hope this helps. If you have any other questions feel free to contact me @tinyadams_9 on Twitter and Instagram, or Corin ‘Tiny’ Adams on Facebook. I’ll answer any questions you may have. I also do highlights and could possibly hip you to some agents.
PS -Some other pros for being overseas is the fashion. You can definitely get some nice designer stuff. You also won’t have to stand in line for Jordan’s lol. Another pro is the health care is cheap as well as education. You can get your masters in some countries or even your teeth done lol