Every basketball lifer has their own unique journey. Basketball Journeys focuses on capturing and unpacking the stories of players, coaches, and lifers who have experienced the impact of their dedication to the game over time.
Our founder Martin Soaries talked with former Plainfield, New Jersey guard and current overseas hooper Anthony Nelson.
Martin: Thanks for rocking with us man. Tell me about how you made your way to Europe and what teams you’ve played for.
Anthony: Well playing in Europe was never something I ever thought about doing honestly, but as a senior, agents started hitting me up like crazy about how I could make money continuing to hoop, so between trying to get to PIT (Portsmouth) and a lockout approaching I had to make a move. That was it. I’ve played for -Kalev/cramo (Estonia) for 1 year (won a chip). Played a year in Hungary. Then went to Greece (apollon patras) and partially tore my patella tendon. Came home for rehab then found a home in Hungary with Pvsk panthers for the last 3-4 years.
Martin: How do you enjoy and compare playing overseas to the competition you grew up with at home?
Anthony: Man I laugh when I think about how easy the game is overseas compared to the guys a grew up playing against. I mean you know, those 02-08 classes in New Jersey was a peak for basketball. To scale it down a bit, my neighborhood games in the park was harder than the games I play now. The game in Europe is good though but the game here is just different!
Martin: I played against you only a few times coming up in high school. You were such a strong, shifty guard. How has your game developed and evolved over time, and what parts of your game do you take the most pride in?
Anthony: Honestly my game really hasn’t changed lol. The one thing in my game that I’d say has progressed the most would be my patience honestly. I really don’t force anything at all anymore because the defense really shows you what to do, but that change of speed is still my game. I take the most pride in defense and controlling the game. As a point guard you can dictate pace like no other player and fans can see that. I call myself the orchestrator. Defense just because I hate being scored on.
Martin: Name some of the best players you’ve played with and against throughout your career.
Anthony: The players list could be long but I’ll give you 2 and 2. With: I’d have to say Jerrell Thompson is the most underrated player ever, and Earl Clark — his versatility just set him apart! I’m pro Plainfield btw lol. Against: I’d say Eric Gordon, he was ridiculous in high school. I saw him at adidas camp and he honestly looked the same as he does now! I’d also have to say Jonny Flynn. He was crazy quick and could just do everything. I’m really surprised he wasn’t an All-Star in the league.
Martin: Basketball has changed so much even in our lifetime. How has that affected your approach in terms of your game?
Anthony: The changing of the game of basketball has kind of made me play a bit bigger than my size. Since a lot teams started playing four guards after Villanova had success with it, almost every team I’ve been on has had this kind of lineup at some point. So it makes the positions interchangeable and I find myself having to defend bigger guys or rebound more defensively. I think that’s where it’s changed the most for me.
Martin: Talk about what makes basketball the best game.
Anthony: Basketball is the best game in the world no question! I mean you have other sports that are comparable but no other team sports that can get you on a high like basketball. Football you need your teammates a lot and in soccer as well, those are the only 2 worldwide comparable sports. When you get hot in basketball your teammates can honestly just play defense and watch you go to work. It’s such a rush in that feeling!! Just knowing the defense is at your mercy, the way you can entertain and interact with the crowd! I’m getting excited just thinking about it lol
Where can people find your game info, stats, and on social media?