In a couple of months time many college players will be faced with the decision to stay in school or enter their name into the NBA Draft. Current college seniors -- who automatically are in the NBA Draft player pool -- have to select their representation.
During this process and the steps prior, I hear people talk about "wanting to be a pro" and that phrase always seems to mean one thing: being an NBA player. To me, that's almost like setting yourself up for failure, if you look at the numbers and who actually gets to play in the NBA with only 450 guaranteed contracts available.
I certainly do understand the desire of every kid and player to want to play in the NBA. All I ask is that you don't sell yourself short and set yourself up for negativity. There is so much more out there and so many opportunities to live a fulfilling life and to play the game we all love.
Working toward an opportunity to compete in the NBA is absolutely something to desire and to dream and work for! Keep the big picture in mind and be open-minded about other opportunities that arise throughout your playing career.
When I talk to players/families/coaches about what "career planning" means to me it's always about working to create opportunities and having a 3-5 year plan in place to start building upon. Setting goals and working toward the best-case scenario while allowing for adjustments on the way is crucial to the overall plan. Playing overseas, making good financial choices, being a key player/leader on your team, getting selected to be an All-Star, making the Playoffs, fighting for a Championship is much closer to what many young ball players are dreaming off and they will never have the opportunity that so many upcoming NCAA seniors will have.
Don't take it for granted and don't be discouraged if the NBA isn't there right away or maybe never is. Instead, consider the alternatives. There are numerous stories now about players who worked their way into the NBA after playing internationally, but don't let perception of being overseas turn into a negative before you've ever embraced the opportunity. Being "open minded" gets you closer to your dream and achieving a reachable dream. Use your gift, your passion, your love and skill to play the game of basketball wherever that will be as a professional.
Gerrit Kersten-Thiele is CEO and a NBA/FIBA certified representative at Scorers 1st Sportmanagement, where he founded the company in 2003. Connect with Gerrit on Twitter (@gkts1st) and Instagram (gkts1st) as well.
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