By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Atlanta Hawks guard and 2016 All-EuroLeague First Team selection Malcolm Delaney gave an interview to Hoopshype where, among other things, he discussed some notable differences between Europe and the NBA, particularly when it comes to the strict rules the clubs sometimes implement.
“Is there anything that surprised you about the NBA?
MD: The biggest thing for me was a lot of the off-the-court stuff. To me, basketball is basketball. Clearly, the NBA has more skilled athletes and a ton of talent, but it’s still basketball. For me, it was more about the time management and handling your off-court stuff. Like when you get into a city, you can do whatever you want to do. In Europe, you’re almost treated like a college athlete. You have a schedule for everything; you have to eat dinner with the team every night, you eat breakfast with the team, you can’t go out… There are rules for everything. In the NBA, they treat you like an adult and it’s on you every night whether you’re prepared to play or not. That was the biggest thing for me. That and the fact that we play so many games that there isn’t a lot of time for practices, so getting into a rhythm is tough. If I had a bad game in Europe, I’m used to having practice to get my rhythm back. In the NBA, you could play a bad game and then have another game the next night or only have a walk-through before the next game. You just have to manage your time well and put the work in yourself.”
Delaney signed with the Hawks during summer 2016, after a prolific five-season stint in Europe. The 28-year-old combo guard won titles and individual distinctions in France (with Elan/Chalon), Ukraine (Budivelnyk) and Germany (Bayern Munich) before emerging as one of the elite overseas players and leading Lokomotiv Kuban to the 2016 EuroLeague Final Four, the first in the history of the franchise.
When asked about the wild stories he has from Europe, Delaney takes a look back at his EuroLeague trip to Belgrade, Serbia when Lokomotiv Kuban faced (and lost to) a Crvena Zvezda squad backed by… 20K plus screaming fans.
From the Hoopshype interview:
“What are some things that NBA fans don’t realize about playing overseas? You see some crazy stuff.
MD: Hmm, what’s the craziest thing I’ve seen? I was never in a situation where I felt threatened because FIBA pretty much regulated everything by the time I played Euroleague. But when I played in Belgrade, Serbia, they had the most passionate fans I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Those Red Star fans are diehard. It’s like life or death for them! Being in an arena with 23,000 of them is pretty tough. I don’t think NBA fans realize everything an American player has to deal with overseas. When we go over there, they expect us to be the star player so the pressure is on. And if the team struggles, the blame is on you. If anything happens, the Americans are the first to go. It’s tough being an American player overseas.”