The relationship between teammates is not always easy. There are many reasons: jealousies about playing time, responsibilities on the ground, the salary, and even the girlfriends of each other. Yet the interactions between all players on the same team is one of the keys to a group’s success. Without a team chemistry, a team is unlike anything. An addition of individualities has never won a title if there was not a minimum of cohesion and a common desire to play together. In some teams, clans are formed but everyone has to live together on the court. Team cohesion will make players outdo each other. This solid link between players is often created outside the court.

« The chemistry off the court helps with how well we play on the court. Team activities are also good for team bonding. » confirmed Jeremi Booth, who has often been the only American on his team and assures that he didn’t had « any problems adapting. I became cool with my teammates which made it easier for me on and off the court. ». The chemistry does not always work well between locals and foreigners, who have sometimes very different culture customs. But they all have one thing in common, sharing their love for basketball. Moreover, « everyone is trying to make a living to provide for their family » as pointed out by Booth. Some form of competition can then settle down, especially between Americans this time, knowing that the number of foreign players is limited by team.

« There is not always a relationship of friendship that is created. Jealousy is a terrible thing » reports Jared Newson. « Most of the time you just take it as a business and once you leave the team you don’t always speak to each other. But in some cases you make friends for life ».

Sometimes, some teammates become close friends. Their relationship lasts beyond a season or a career. « I meet some good guys along the way. I stay in contact with some of them. », confirms Jeremi Booth.

It’s pretty the same for Toddrick Gotcher. « I have made plenty of friends playing overseas. Friendships that will last a lifetime because we are all over here for one reason to play ball and win games. The relationships that I have with my teammates are very close. They are really my family over here. Especially for players that do not bring their families overseas have to make their teammates their family. Americans typically hang out a lot, whether it is going for dinner or playing video games at home. It keeps our minds from not actually being with our real families and keeps us busy. With the local players, I become close with them also. They are also my teammates, maybe we do not speak the same first language, but we get along really well and hang out every chance we get ».

Frank Hassell adds: « I have never been the only American on a team. And I have been in different situations where a befriended different people from different cultures. Basketball is the bond that we all share and playing at a high level is like being in a fraternity ».

Read the full chapter and eBook “FROM USA TO OVERSEAS – All there is to know about the life of American basketball players in Europe”


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