Before traning camp opens for the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, and Gerald Wallace is penciled into Nate McMillan's starting line-up at small forward, take a quick glance back on Nicolas Batum's extended offseason with the French National Team at EuroBasket in Lithuania and his run in the French League and Euroleague with SLUC Nancy...no comments
A wise man once told me the place where we can find the most talent and ability is in the cemetery.
What he meant by that was this – most people go throughout their whole lives never releasing the gifts that have been placed inside of them. Every person has a unique talent. Some people are gifted in the area of music; some are athletic or even artistic. No matter what the area, we all have something inside of us that will set us apart from other people.
The other day I had a discussion with one of my teammates about the rapper Lil Wayne. His argument to me was that Lil Wayne has been given something that nobody else in the rap game has. If you have ever heard one of his songs or seen him perform, it is undeniable that he was born to make music. From his presence, to his lyrics, to his delivery, every part about who he is makes him successful at what he does.
But, he was not always that good. If you trace his career back to his early days, he was just another young rapper trying to make it in the industry, another voice laid over a track. Back then, Lil Wayne was not a superstar by any means. You would not find him on “ESPN 1st and 10” or in box suites at the Super Bowl.
About a month ago, I watched the Michael Jackson movie, “This Is It”. I was so impressed with the magnitude of the final tour Jackson was preparing. He showed why he was the greatest Pop icon of all time. His knowledge of music was extensive. His work ethic was intense. It was evident in the film that he was a perfectionist; he needed everything to be done a certain way. But the greatest thing I took away from that movie was this: Michael Jackson was a man who took his talent (of singing and dancing) and maximized his abilities to the highest potential. Even when he reached that point, he was not satisfied.
That is what my teammate noticed in Lil Wayne. It was not his talent that made him one of the greatest rappers of all time and one of the most recognizable figures of our generation. It was the honing of his skills -- the long hours of hard work, a work ethic that surpasses the norm. You see it in all the greats. Kevin Durant said it best:
“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”no comments
Good Evening! It's Sunday evening here in the Czech Republic.
First, I would like to announce that my book, "A Guide to Playing Professional Basketball Overseas" is finally out! It can be purchased at Barnes and Noble, or on Amazon.com and even Xlibris.com. It's available in soft cover, hard cover and also as an e- book.
I am not sure if you all have been following, but a number of players have left teams around Europe this season because they have not been paid from their respective team. Of course things are tough with the economy being the way it is but this is not something that started this season.
When I first decided to come overseas to play I didn't know much about the way things were done here, but one thing I heard was that some teams don't pay or they pay their players late. Being overseas for 13 years I can say from experience that it's true. I have been paid late but I have always received all the money I was owed. The Czech Republic has a good reputation when it comes to getting paid.
Not everyone is so lucky.
Hey all, I am Tomas Van Den Spiegel, a 33-year-old Belgian basketball pro who’s been around playing all over Europe for the last 16 years.
I am currently playing for BC Oostende from Belgium but I have played for teams from Italy, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Spain. I am married to former pro volleyball player, Julie, and am proud father to 2 1/2 year-old, Ana, and 3-month-old Theo. I will try to use this column to tell you how our current season is going, but I will also try to give you a look at some of the things --good or bad -- sometimes even funny, I’ve gone through during this 16-year journey.
I turned pro at 17-years-old, which is not unusual for Europe. I also tried to combine being a basketball player with some studies, but gave that up at the age of 20: too stubborn according to my parents, very ambitious according to myself. At 22, I left my home country Belgium to sign with European powerhouse Fortitudo Bologna, and after that also played for Virtus Roma, CSKA Moscow, Prokom Sopot, Azovmash Mariupol, Real Madrid and Olimpia Milano. I can now say I am quite happy with the way my career went -- a combination of hard work, making the right decisions, taking advice from the right people.
And like for everything else in life, luck -- lots of luck.no comments
In the coming weeks before the NBA tips off their revised post-lockout schedule, you’re bound to hear a number of names associated with the Portland Trail Blazers as they attempt to secure their frontline.
A free-agent shortlist is already circulating featuring Carl Landry and Chuck Hayes among others.
But there is one name that’s been associated with Portland during past offseasons that may be soon forgotten in the Blazers future big man plans altogether:
Portland still holds the rights to Freeland after selecting the 6-foot-11 power forward and center 30th overall in the 2006 NBA Draft. Since proceeding to stash him in Europe for developmental purposes, Freeland’s played for Gran Canaria of the Spanish ACB League, before signing with the Spanish Euroleague team Unicaja Malaga in 2009.
After leading Unicaja in scoring last season and being named to the All-ACB team, Freeland leads the team in scoring (14.5 points per game) and rebounding (7.4 rebounds per game) through eight games this season. He was also named ACB player of the month for October, accolades that continue to impress those who have closely followed Freeland’s career overseas.
“He's the best big in Europe,” one scout in Europe told Beyond the Beat.no comments