By Niki Bakouli/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Trajan Langdon was talking to David Vanterpool (about NBA’s business) and few steps away there he was JR Holden looking everybody walking by. We didn’t need a special reason to talk to him, since he always have something important to say, after all he achieved throughout his great career.
“I’ m here with my boys, trying to relax a little bit. David is working for the NBA and Trajan is trying to work also for the NBA. I just want to get a feel of what I want to do and I think if you are around with good people they give you a positive feed back. I’m thinking about being something relative to basketball, something like an agent”.
But still he knows everything these young guys live at the Las Vegas Summer League, plus everything you can do overseas. How can these young players react to the pressure they feel, right now, knowing everybody is watching them? “I don’t think there is any pressure. You play the game you love. If you are in the NBA’s summer league, that means you are good enough to be here. And it’s your opportunity to pop and get a job. I don’t thing there is any pressure unless you are a draft pick. Maybe you are the No5 draft pick and you better play really really well in this, but for guys who are coming overseas or coming out of college and they weren’t drafted it’s a great opportunity”.
And evem if they don’t get a job at the NBA, most of them won’t like the idea of playing overseas. “People look at playing overseas as a negative, cause they don’t know anything about it, but if you look at the last ten years lot of overseas players come to the States, played well. Actually they played better than a lot of Americans. The game is global now. You really have to look no matter where you go, you are a professional and maybe the next step to accomplish your dream. If your dream is the NBA, then maybe Greece or Russia or Belgium or Spain is your next step getting back to the NBA”.
And what you need to have, so you can make the most of your choice to play in Europe? “One you have to have a good agent and two the team is gonna know what they are getting, when they get you. The bigger the team you go to, the less responsibility as far as maybe what you want to do. When you go to Panathinaikos, to Olympiacos, to CSKA, to Barcelona, you are not going to have somebody to score 30 points a game. Just doesn’t happen. You are going to have a guy who scores 15, 16 maybe 17. Everybody has 12 or 13 points, but the thing overseas is about winning, not about the individual or a 40-points game. And I think this is the bigger and most important adjustment an American has to make, when he is playing overseas”.
If you choose a smaller team, maybe you are doing your life easier? “No, I think the right thing to do is to go for the big team, cause if you are a good player you are going to fit in everywhere. And if you fit in and get a championship, let’s say in Greece and you are 6-9 and you have 10 rebounds and 12 points per game then you have a better shot going to the NBA, than if you were playing for a small team”.
Due to financial crisis in Europe, there aren’t so many countries any more to spend millions of dollars. “I think sometimes when it comes to basketball, chemistry you can buy. I’ve always said that, no matter where you at. This year Panathinaikos and Olympiacos didn’t have a lot of money but they did have the players and the core they were use to having. Olympiacos’ players they got good and play together at the right time. And that what basketball is all about. I don’t care if you spend 2 million or 10 million. If you players can play together, you are always going to have a chance to win. Of course, it doesn’t happen very often, because the bigger teams, they have being together for 2-3 years, Panathinaikos being together for 8 years. Olympiacos was one of the special occasions. CSKA did that, when I first got there we didn’t win the championship; we only made it to the Final Four. And that got us to the next step. There is going to be a lot of pressure now on them. There will be expectations to come back and do that again”.