BallinEurope.com, what a great name for a website, and I’m honored to be one of the first players to blog for you guys. Big up to my boy Tobi! I’m sure many of you, well all of you are wondering who I am, but pretty soon you will get used to seeing this handsome face… Unless they decide I’m not worthy of this great site, and I fade back into obscurity worse than Nikoloz Tskitishvili. And Skita, if you’re reading this, I’m just kiddin dog… kinda! My intro can be found on another site, so I’ll spare you guys my life story… So here we go!!!
February was a great month! First, my girlfriend came for Valentines Day and stayed for about 8 days, which I might add was the fastest damn 8 days in history. Then the day after she left, my team, Benetton Fribourg Olympic, won the Swiss League Cup!! It was my first championship since my AAU days, and it felt really good to hold those trophies at the end of the game! We celebrated like we won game 7 of the NBA finals. And you have to understand, my teams have always been pretty good, but never championship material!! You know the saying, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride…” Well I I’ve never even been invited to the wedding!
So it was a big moment in my young career to say the least. And I held on to the trophy all night. I even took a shower with it after the game in the locker-room. I felt like I was cheating on my girlfriend, cuz I kissed the thing all night and even slept with it. Sorry babe! But for what it’s worth, you’re a much better kisser. Now, I know it isn’t the Copa del Ray in Spain, but it’s still important and I’m proud to be apart of a championship team. So I have to give a big shout out to my teammates, D Kamp, PPD, H, E Bing, Doug, Big O, TQ, and my young bucks!Last month the NBA and held its annual All Star weekend in New Orleans. I saw some of the highlights from the game, Lebron did his thing, but Ray Ray really shoulda won the MVP. And Dwight Howard… All I can say is YUUUUUUUUUUULL… Way to Superman that Hooooo! I also saw some highlights of the D league all star game as well, and my boy Keith Langford continues to do his thing. And because Keith did his thing so well this year, he got a nice offer from Angelico Biella, an A1 team in Italy. And that got me to thinking…. And it made me think about the great debate… No, not Obama vs. Clinton, but D League vs. Europe! To some guys the dream of the NBA keeps them going, and so they feel the D League is the best option. But other guys know that the dream of the NBA may keep them going, but it won’t keep the lights on, or pay many bills back home! So here’s my opinion on how the D League maybe could close the gap on Europe.
There are only 14 D League teams, and 10 players on each team, who all make salaries ranging from 13k-24k, depending on playing experience. Ok how about this… What if the D League raised the salaries to 50k for the C level contract, 60k for the B level contract, and 70k for the A contract. The NBA makes BILLIONS of dollars from TV deals, licensing deals, ticket sales, etc, to the point where they could invest some of that money into the D League. But the point I’m making is they have the money to invest in the D League, and just imagine the affect of the increased salaries would have on the league as a whole.
First off the talent of the D league would increase by leaps and bounds. And that’s sayin a lot because the talent is great now. But if the borderline NBA guys (guys who almost get drafted, or had some workouts before and after the draft, high level overseas free agents, etc.) had a chance to make between 50-70k to stay home and play in front of NBA scouts every game, I think at least 65% of the guys would opt to play in the D league. It makes a big difference if you’re averaging 15 and 10 in the D league in front of NBA scouts, or 15 and 10 in Germany or France… it’s a big difference I think! It’s kind of like the reality show Flavor of Love, yeah he’s not the most attractive guy in the world, and he kinda resembles a porch monkey, but if you put in a little work, then you can get your own reality show. i.e. New York. Of course there are always gonna be guys who get offered 100k or more to go play in Europe… those guys are gonna go regardless. But for younger players who don’t really want to go overseas and play, this would be the best alternative. Because guys who just coming out of college, really have no idea about living or playing in Europe, and it’s not as glamorous as people make it seem.(see next blog) And by better players staying and playing in the D League, it will also increase tickets sales. Think about it, if fans recognize players they know or have seen on ESPN, they will be more likely to buy tickets to see those players, as opposed to players they’ve never heard of. And what do ticket sales mean… more revenue for the D league, which is always a plus.
And again, I’m not here to bash the D league, I love the D league and everything it stands for, I think the leadership is great, and the league will get better and better every year. I recently read Dan Reed’s(D League president) blog, who is a really good guy by the way, and he talked about how the call ups are at an all time high(11), average attendance is up 25%, and franchise values have quadrupled in the last 3 years! All these facts are great, and just show how much the NBA is behind its product. But those numbers would be even greater if they ever decide to “C.T.C”! At the end of the day it’s always about money, so guys have to ask themselves what they value more.. The money or the dream??!!
Next up… How playing in Switzerland is like living in a postcard!
Editors’ note: I hope Marcus won’t get sued for “being like Mike”. I never saw a basketball picture with the guy being that close to the Jumpman logo like that!