I’ve just turned 20 and have decided to not return to America to complete my final season of junior-college – it wasn’t the best situation for me.
Since returning to the UK I’ve caught the attention of several agents who believe that they can land me a contract. Just last week, I was offered a contract in a in Europe – the agent said that the team (lower division) were very interested in having me asap.
The catch? They’re only offering the ‘very interested’ rate of €500 per month – Are they for real!?
Are you even pro if you’re only getting €500 per month? Is it worth even considering this deal?
Many ballers pursuing contracts, often use NBA contracts as a basis to (many a time, wrongly) determine how much they must be worth elsewhere.
You know, the ‘If LeBron is making $30M a season’ surely, somewhere, I can make at least XYZ’ type of talks. That was the general talk of basketball town when not so long ago, NBA contracts skyrocketed for pretty much anyone…
What’s dangerous in this way of thinking is that, it doesn’t really work the same outside the NBA.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are several ‘overseas’ players who better paid than many in the NBA itself – but to use these cases as a rule is inaccurate – there are definitely more in number who fall on the other side of the fence.
Although admittedly, €500 per month is less than what many players think they are worth, LOADS of players would LOVE to take that offer, should you turn it down. Professional teams generally enjoy buyer’s market advantage – meaning essentially that for every contract, there may be 100 ballers interested – they have the upper-hand and therefore can be more picky and stingy in regards to what they look for in a player and offer financially.
What’s also important to note is that there are MANY additional factors that can determine just how much you’ll be paid. These include the economic situation of a nation and club and the profile of the prospect (experience etc). The first, is to an extent, uncontrollable from the standpoint of the player, whilst the latter can be somewhat controlled.
In most cases nowadays, it’s really the perception of a prospect that a lot of the time holds more weight than the reality of a situation.
For example, have you ever wondered why teams look primarily for NCAA D1 players? As a rule of thumb a D1 talent pool is the most likely to have the ‘best’ player – as opposed to D2/D3/NAIA. Again with buyer’s market advantage which I mentioned earlier, you can somewhat understand why a team may be more picky, it’s all a game of leverage at the end of the day.
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Buyer’s market advantage also affects the recruiting activities of other teams. With a lower division team –being maybe unable to afford what the market generally offers D1 players, they are likely to open up their spots to ballers like yourself, (D2/D3/NAIA/JUCO etc) where they try to get the most skill for their buck.
However, this doesn’t stop these ‘inferior’ teams taking advantage. Knowing how hard it can be for a non-D1 player to find a contract, they commonly offer lower wages, (aka. low-balling).
The upside of this situation – the experience-building process of baller, can often lead to higher FUTURE wages/opportunities. For example, kill in a lower-league and you boost your chances of catching the attention from higher leagues in the same country – or getting the interest of a team in the same league, with more money to offer.
Although not a lot of money, €500 per month is a start which can mark the beginning of a lucrative basketball career. What’s most important is that YOU know what YOU want in the long-run from basketball. Is constant progression of more importance to you than a quick buck? Or vice-versa? Of course, there is no right answer to this question as everyone’s situation is different and in theory, both views can lead to success.
…So, is €500/month enough to be considered pro?
It can be seen that there’s no minimum wage that qualifies a contract as ‘pro’. As long as your main income is basketball – you’re ‘pro’.