Americans Abroad (Grantland feature)

I recently wrote a piece on the experiences of NBA players who have played basketball overseas. For this, I talked to the Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings, Detroit Pistons' Kyle Singler, Texas Legends' Chris Douglas-Roberts, Minnesota Timberwolves prospect Robert Hummel, and Maccabi Haifa owner Jeff Rosen about the tradeoff of working outside the United States.

Even with the NBA's labor problems in the rear-view mirror, playing in a foreign country offers an alternative to those not yet ready for the NBA, typically promising better money and tougher competition than most D-League gigs. The right overseas opportunity can eventually lead NBA hopefuls toward secure roster spots back in the United States.

But it isn’t for everyone. Playing overseas involves taking risks and living with uncertainty. You never know how it's going to pan out. Some players, like Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings, thrive, where others, such as Jeremy Tyler, falter.

Jennings became the first player to ply his trade overseas, straight out of high school, bypassing the NBA’s minimum age requirement in 2008. He had considered attending the University of Arizona, but the appeal of playing professionally led him to sign a $1.65 million contract with Pallacanestro Virtus Roma, a top Italian team.

“At the time, I was 18 years old, and growing up, our dreams were to go straight out of high school to the NBA. I think that was every kid’s dream back then,” Jennings recalls. (Read the full story here)

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