The 2016 Rio Olympics are almost here and Team USA looks primed to dominate the competition yet again. In the midst of the Olympic hype, however, some news is popping up about more ex-NBA players making the switch to play overseas instead of either in the NBA or the D-League. Players such as Amar’E Stoudamire, Carlos Boozer, and Jimmer Fredette being the latest to announce their travels. The reasons for doing so are different for each player. Some may be at the end of their career, and some may just be struggling to begin their career, but either way, this is helping the game in a big way.
As I mentioned before, the Summer Olympics are right around the corner again, and as Team USA did their exhibition rounds, we were all reminded how much better the USA Basketball Team is compared to the rest of the world. Whenever any kind of international play comes around, if the US doesn’t win or get a gold medal, then it’s seen as a huge failure. However, this doesn’t come as a surprise when you realize that the US is the home to the best basketball league in the world.
So, what happens if some of these players, young or old, leave this competition in the States and go overseas? Well, they bring a wealth of knowledge, skill, and veteran leadership to players and teams that may not ever get to experience what it’s like in the NBA. They can bring over drills, workouts, and routines that were hammered into their memory through the NCAA and NBA coaches and trainers. So as these American players are getting help from their teammates to adapt to the new lifestyle and environment, they can teach these same teammates the same bits of knowledge that the best players in the world know.
After the natural procession of that information, more and more players overseas begin to get curious about these routines that the other players are going through. They inquire, and now they’re learning to do some of these things that guys like Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and other big time players have done. This can then give the basketball world international products like Dirk Nowitzki, Kristaps Porzingis, Manu Ginobili, and even more.
On top of that, these players from America that are going overseas, could also apply for citizenship in those countries and maybe even compete for them in international play as well. So what this does in return is plant the seed for better competition overall. If more international players are coming to the NBA and more international leagues are playing at a higher level, this makes the spectacle that is the Olympics something even more special to witness. A gold medal would carry even more weight when talked about during a player’s career, and it would overall be more entertaining.