For an American basketball player, especially a young rookie of 22 or 23 years old leaving the university, the discovery of Europe can be disastrous in terms of culture. This is a radical change of environment. No more big buildings, skyscrapers, arenas that can accommodate 15,000 spectators. The food is different, as is the lifestyle, the culture, the spoken language, etc. The time difference with the United States is not there to fix things, some American basketball players do not sleep at night, or very little, to talk with their family and friends living in the USA.
Life on the Old Continent requires a time of adaptation. « For a 23 year old kid like me coming from Wisconsin, it’s a new world, a lot of changes, a different way of life… I had heard about France quickly: the Eiffel Tower and its pretty much everything », reports Dwight Buycks, who spent time at the BCM Gravelines- Dunkerque with whom he was elected MVP of the French championship at the beginning of his professional career abroad after a few games in Belgium the past season.
Becoming over time an American player referenced in Europe, Frank Hassell had a difficult period of adaptation at its beginnings overseas before adapting to local customs.
« Coming overseas to play basketball and live was the biggest culture shock I had to face in my life but it helped me grow and learn, and for that I am grateful for the experience. I feel like I have multiple homes and France is surely one of them. However, it’s very hard for international players to find a basketball home. We deal with a lot of 1/2 year contracts and the market is huge so we are easily replaceable and interchangeable ».
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