Every player has a story.
During my first year out of college, I was cut from four different pro basketball teams. I worked two jobs. There were nights I slept in my truck in Fairmount park, just so I could wake up early and go play with the best pro players in the city of Philadelphia.
I went on to play professionally for over 13 years. More about my basketball story can be read here.
Steve Dagostino had put up impressive numbers in countries like Iceland, the U.K., and Italy. But he wanted to prove himself against the best of the best overseas. At that time (and still now in 2013), the best basketball country in the world –outside of the U.S. –was Spain.
The 5’11’ guard from St. Rose (NCAA D2) was finding it tough to get a shot, but
until he received an offer from 3rd Division Spain. It was a 1-month tryout for less $ then he had made in his entire pro career–WAY less.
The team wasn’t winning before Steve showed up. But he quickly turned that around. He also put up solid numbers. Yet and Still, at the end of the month, management was reluctant to execute the option on his contract. Steve’s season and future were up in the air.
Steve’s story is worthy of a book or even a movie, but I’ll try to serve it some justice in this short paragraph.
From the day Steve’s contract was not immediately renewed until just over 2 weeks later, something incredible happened. Steve Dagostino went from a player whose basketball future was totally uncertain….to a proven point guard in European basketball.
Lleida, a Playoff Contender, in the Higher Spanish division had taken notice, swooped in and signed him to a deal for the rest of the season. And in his first outing, he exploded for a monster game and was named Spanish League Player of the Week.
So why are these things important?
I’ve been having conversations with alot of players whose basketball futures are unknown. I’ve heard a little bit of it all.
Some players have super-positive outlooks. “I’m working hard everyday to be ready for my opportunity. Whenever it presents itself I will be ready. ” Great attitude. Some of these players will make it.
Some player are negative and have pretty much quit, “I don’t think I’m good enough to play NBA or D-League, but I think I can make some money and have fun overseas. Can you call some people for me?” NO! These players are NOT invited to iBall Pro Combine.
For some players, things aren’t so cut and dried. Like when I ask.. ‘why haven’t you signed with an agent?’ “I had some agents hollar at me but none of them…..”
Others players have reasons why they lost out on an opportunity. “I was killin’. Everybody know I was the best player there but….”
The people I know wouldn’t call those reasons… or stories.. or anything like that. We call those are excuses.
Excuses are like bottom lips, everyone has one.
One day a good friend of mine told me to shut up and stop whining. It was the best thing he coulda ever said to me. I listened, and have tried to never whine or make excuses about anything in my life ever since.
As a player who is trying to build and sustain a pro basketball career, we have to rise above the hurdles in our path, and overcome whatever difficulty comes our way. We are constantly turning obstacles into stepping stones. After we overcome and realize our goals, then those obstacles in the past will turn into the beginning chapters of an incredible story.
My man Jon Solomon put it like this. “Nobody cares about your story until you make it.” Jon has a story. It’s still being written.
In less than a week, I’ll have the honor and privilege to introduce over 100 players to Steve, Jon, and other former players who have knowledge, experience, contacts, and stories to share. Our goal is to provide players the connections, opportunity, exposure, and knowledge they need to build and sustain a professional basketball career.
So what are you doing today to improve your game and increase your chance for success. Whatever level you’re at, I’m sure you’ve realized some setbacks. We can’t make every shot, right? but we have to keep shooting.
Whatever you’re going through, you only have one choice if you want to have a positive outcome. Stay focused, driven, and unrealistically optimistic. Keep working and maybe, one day, we’ll click on youtube there you’ll be, front and center, featured in the most incredible basketball story ever!