Josh Childress Cautions Players Against Hastily Deciding to Play Overseas, Believes China Is Where It’s At For Those Who Do Go AbroadJuly 15, 2011 – 6:45 am by Michael Bean
To play abroad or not to play abroad, that seems to be one of many hot-button topics surrounding the NBA as the league’s lockout enters its third week. Billy Hunter had mentioned that players would be perfectly happy to play abroad if the NBA’s owners aren’t reasonable in their negotiation demands. Whether that’s entirely accurate or more of a bargaining ploy is anybody’s guess. But when Josh Childress, the Phoenix Suns forward who himself played in Greece (and got paid handsomely in the process), came out recently to say that he didn’t think it was necessarily such a great idea for all players, the conversation got more complex and interesting. Basically, as Childress explains in the following interview, he said what he did because he assumed that most players would for whatever reason not be entirely informed of all the myriad factors involved with making such an important and monumental career move. It might seem like a quick payday, but based on his experience, Childress knows there’s more to the equation than that.
Of course, he loved his experience and feels plenty of his peers would have a similarly positive experience. He just wants everybody to slow down and think long and hard about all the options and considerations before making any rash decisions.
Oh yeah, he also thinks China is the way to go, not Europe.
Childress joined ESPN Radio Los Angeles to talk about his recent comments cautioning players about playing in Europe during the lockout, how he doesn’t necessarily think it’s a bad idea only that players need to be wholly informed before making that kind of a decision, what exactly was so different about his experience playing in Greece compared to life in the NBA, whether he feels it’s a risky idea for someone like Deron Williams (who’s expressed interest in playing abroad) who only has one year left on his contract and is not in a situation where he’s putting gobs of money at stake by playing elsewhere, and perhaps most interestingly, why he thinks that China might be a far better option for some guys as compared to Europe.
On why he’d not advise players to play in Europe:
“Well when I say I would not advise it, it’s under the premise that guys are not fully informed. I’m not saying it’s a bad idea. I did it for two years, it was a great situation for me, it was a great learning experience, but I think that for a bulk of the guys, you need to be informed. You need to make sure you have insurance, you need to just make sure you’re covered on all bases.”
Has anyone contacted him from the players union about his comments since he first said them:
“No, no, no. They understand where I’m coming from, and quite frankly I was just being honest. Like I said, the biggest thing is just making sure guys are informed. I would hate for a guy to not know what he’s getting in to, and I truly hope that everyone that goes has a great experience like I did.”
What exactly are they ‘getting into’ as he’s alluded to:
“Well it’s just a different style. It’s a different style of play, mentality, overall just a completely animal. And I think you get some situations where some coaches you’re going to get two-a-days every day, and you’re going to be playing one game a week, one to two games a week. It’s just different. There’s not a ton of things I can say about it other than it’s just different and that you’re aware of that. I wouldn’t want guys going over there thinking it’s like the NBA, because it’s not.”
On if he thinks it’s a risky and bad idea for a guy like Deron Williams who wouldn’t be risking losing out on a big, guaranteed contract but instead close to finishing out a deal and subsequently has less at stake financially:
“Well I think that Deron made it clear that he wanted to go for the experience, and for me that’s totally cool. To me that’s a great way to go in to it, because it’s not about the money, it’s about the experience. I dig that. When I said what I said, I was truly under the impression that a lot of guys were looking at Europe as a better option. I think a better option may be China or maybe somewhere in Asia. The market is huge there, the market for basketball. If you look at someone like Stephon Marbury who went over and stayed over there and is really doing well for himself, you can look at that and say this is a really good opportunity.”
So he’s saying it’s more about where you go, not it being a blanket bad idea to play overseas, and why it would be better to play in a foreign culture like China rather than a beautiful place like Greece in the Mediterranean:
“I think that in China they’re more infatuated with American basketball, whereas in Greece, they’re more infatuated with Greek basketball, and the Greek style and the Greek way of doing things. And I could be wrong because I’ve never played with China. I’m just speaking from the experience of playing in Greece. But I know that just overall the market for basketball is huge, huge, huge in China.”
On how he pocketed quite a bit of change during his stint overseas and how the tax situation works:
“I still had to pay taxes in the States, don’t be fooled by that. Before taxes I got about $13 million.”
Listen here to Childress with Max Kellerman & Mark Willard on ESPN Radio Los Angeles (interview begins at 12:45 mark)