Are you one of the many basketball players who dream of playing overseas at a professional level?
There are many opportunities outside the country in which you reside for you to become a great basketball player. However, you may not know how to play basketball overseas.
We feel your pains. But if it helps, you're not alone. Like you, most college and non-college basketball players have never left their country. They would also like to know how to play basketball overseas, and they know many opportunities are available in Europe, Australia, Latin America, and Asia.
However, they don't know any professional player or coach that can guide them, and some don't even have any friends or family overseas.
Like them, in the bid to actualize your dream, you have many questions on your mind. You're wondering where to start, who to talk to, what steps to take, etc. Panic no more - these things happen.
The good news is that you've just stumbled on the right page. Here, you will learn how to play basketball overseas and get paid for what you love. Let's jump right in and look into the requirements you need to make playing basketball overseas possible.
Requirements Needed to Play Basketball Overseas
No matter how big your dreams are, you can't walk into an international court saying, "I play so well, I'll be your next LeBron James." You need to fulfill some requirements before getting to that international level you desire.
They are the preliminary steps to take to prepare yourself for an international basketball career. These conditions must be fulfilled before you become the next LeBron James. Would you like to find out what they are? Hop in!
Your basketball skill is the first requirement. It's not rocket science that you need a certain skill level to play internationally. Of course, before thinking of going overseas to pursue this career further, you should be good already.
However, some people are not good enough to join an international team. Hence, if you're in doubt about your skill and still wish to travel overseas to play someday, there's one thing you need to focus on; and that is continuous practice.
When you practice regularly, you build your skills.
A Coachable Mindset
Even in the classroom, we all had that pompous know-it-all student. It's also no different in basketball. A professional coach wants a player ready to learn and understand new playing styles.
If you are not coachable, it means you're difficult, and no coach will be interested in working with you. Be coachable; it's one of the things you need to know about how to play basketball overseas.
Ability to Adapt
Adapting to new ways and styles may not be your thing. However, when you choose to leave your country to play basketball in a foreign country, you should be willing to learn everything about the rules guiding basketball there.
Similarly, their culture may be different from yours. Therefore, you should have an open mindset and adapt to their way of life. Their climate may also be different from what you are used to in your country. Try to adjust and not let it negatively affect the way you play.
8 Steps You Need to Take to Play Basketball Overseas
The following guides will teach you how to market yourself for international teams overseas to find interest in you.
Step 1: Get Experience by Playing at the Highest Level in Your Home Country
Play basketball till you get to the highest level in your home country, and this will help give you experience. At the same time, prepare you for what you will face in a competitive international league.
Henceforth, your aim should be to reach the top level in the current team where you are playing, and this experience will get you opportunities from teams overseas.
Step 2: Create Videos
Make a video of the best games you have played. Get videos of high-level and organized competition games where you played excellently well. This video can earn you attention from clubs overseas.
You can also create highlight videos to show how you move and shoot while playing. These videos are essential because scouts, agents, coaches, etc., can pick interest in you from here. Create a full video of the game too, if possible.
The teams who show interest in your highlight video will like to watch the entire game as well. Make sure that your highlight tapes are edited by a professional to eliminate any dull moment.
Related: Best Camera for Recording Basketball Games: Video Equipment Review
Step 3: Work With a Basketball Agent
Reputable agents are available to help connect you with the right people that will make your basketball career happen. They focus all their energy on getting you an opportunity overseas, leaving you to only worry about developing and training yourself.
When finding an agent, you shouldn't choose any "wannabe" agent since the fate of your career lies partly on their shoulders.
To get a professional agent, ask your former teammates, family. You can also ask friends who play or know someone that plays basketball about their agents. Inquire if the agents are willing to take you on. If they are not, you still have other options to try out.
You can find an agent on the FIBA agent website. This FIBA body regulates most of the basketball leagues throughout the globe. There, you'll find agents who have valid licenses or certifications.
NBA agents are another great option for you if you want to play with the NBA team. As the name implies, these agents can negotiate with the NBA teams.
Apart from the certified agents mentioned and other certified agents you may know, some players work with uncertified agents. There are some uncertified agents that have a lot of contacts and experience.
However, if you wish to work with uncertified agents, you must be careful because scammers are lurking around too.
Step 4: Network
Position yourself in places where you'll find people with the same goals as yours. Connect with them and build a strong network.
Create and join social media accounts and communities on LinkedIn, Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. You might meet people willing to offer you an opportunity by doing this.
Step 5: Be Consistent With Your Training
Prepare yourself at all times because you never know when an overseas opportunity will come knocking. Be focused and keep working out to improve in the areas deficient of skill.
So, whenever a tryout comes, you will be able to perform at your peak.
Step 6: Choose a Country
Researching the different countries where you'll find opportunities is essential. You can't make your choice from mere hearsay or because your college colleague wants to play in that country.
You have to take steps by doing your research. Research about their climate, culture, and language, then decide if you can adapt and thrive easily there. It would help to research the leagues you wish to play in, coupled with other players' experience.
This information cannot all be found from internet searches alone. So, when networking with other players, try to bring it up and ask the right questions.
Step 7: Get a Passport (If You Don’t Already Have One)
Except in exceptional cases, you can’t leave your home country without a passport. Therefore, you need to get your passport ready and valid.
An opportunity can occur at any time. Having your passport handy will help you jump on it immediately.
Step 8: Travel to the Country You Want to Play in on Your Own
If you have tried everything and haven't gotten a team yet, then it's time you take the bull by the horns. This option will be expensive because you'll have to buy your ticket yourself and, if need be, enroll in a basketball academy.
Looking at the brighter side of this, teams will likely give you a tryout. The reason is that you're already in their country, compared to someone they have to fly in from a different country. Therefore, if you're good, it saves them money.
If basketball means a lot to you, it's worth enrolling in a basketball academy in your desired country. Even though it's expensive, the institutions will allow you to play professionally and help you achieve your dreams of playing basketball overseas.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Play Basketball Overseas (FAQs)
Is it my responsibility to pay my agent for their services?
In almost every case, apart from the NBA and other Elite overseas teams, the basketball team you will be working with pays the agent for their service, and not you.
Thus, if an agent asks for an upfront payment before finding you a team, you should reconsider the offer. Try a new agent because the former might be trying to scam you. Remember that you are not to pay an agent to help you.
Must I get a basketball agent to play professionally overseas?
The simple answer to this is no. The only reason you need an agent is to skip the process of finding a professional team on your own. It's your agent's responsibility to decide the suitable contract length for you, advise you, suggest ways to improve your skill, etc.
While your agent does all this, your only focus will be on your game. But, if you think you have the right contacts to start your career professionally, please skip the agent part.
How do I find a team overseas without an agent?
You can get opportunities on your own overseas when you network and make contact with the right people.
Keep a healthy relationship with them, and they will be willing to help you when the time comes.
Can I play professional basketball overseas without going to college?
Yes! Not having a college experience or even going to college cannot limit your dream. If you have the skill and the proper connection, you can become a professional basketball player.
For instance, Europe offers many opportunities for basketball players looking to take their skills to the next level.
Why do people prefer playing basketball overseas?
Everyone has their unique reason for playing basketball overseas.
Among those reasons is because they get more opportunities overseas with high-level teams.
Furthermore, they get to explore places they haven't been to before. And most importantly, they make a living from what they love doing.
At what age is it too late to start basketball?
It is never too late to start a career in basketball. You can begin at 40 or even as young as 18 years old.
What matters is that you have the skill and passion for basketball. When you notice your interest in basketball, start training and developing your career in basketball.
Conclusion: How to Play Basketball Overseas
To play basketball overseas, you need the correct information at the right time. This is only possible when you position yourself with people of the same interest.
Join basketball communities on social media, build relationships with people there. Attend exposure camps, find an agent, prepare videos of your best games. Or join a basketball academy - if you are capable.
Once you land a contract overseas, this doesn't automatically mean you will be earning hundreds of thousands of dollars.
To be truthful, it's far from it, but you will still get there. Unless you have remarkable stats, be ready to start at a lower level and make little money. Work twice as hard to excel in lower leagues first, then gradually climb to the top.
Related: How to Make It to the NBA