BASKETBALL: Former international basketball player Howard Brown hails from Pottstown, PA, a tight knit community with a sports fanatic family background. After trying out multiple sports, he stuck with basketball and went on to win the state championship during his high school years (going head to head with Kobe Bryant). He played Villanova college ball, received an invitation to try out with a NBA team but couldn’t find his way until 1.5 years later when he went overseas to continue his basketball career abroad in Portugal, Israel, Venezuela, and mainly Spain. There, Howard won two Spanish championships, but that was not the highlight of his time abroad. In his opinion, it was the moment when he meet his Spanish wife. While still playing abroad, he started iballunited, a full service sports management agency, helping players build and sustain successful basketball careers.
What is the one thing that is missing for players that do not make it?
“At the end of the day it comes down to THE opportunity, finding that open door. Whether it is going to a camp, knowing which ones are productive, sending your resumes, and finding and signing with the right agents. A lot of hustle, relationship and luck.”
In this podcast interview, Howard and I took the time to talk for 30 minutes about
- taking care of your opportunities as a pro player abroad
- the crucial first year abroad
- owning your resume and video, and taking control of how you are marketed as a player
- his own business development process of founding a company abroad while still playing
- having mentors to develop a post-active career
- his non-profit foundation “Live the dream” to support first generation student athletes
- his 5 years plan for his business
- the need to share information about overseas exposure camps, combines, and transparency within the industry
- the difficulty of managing the transition and stepping into a post-active career
“My biggest challenge was understanding my worth and whether I was working with the right people. Looking back, it’s really important. I was a player with solid stats from a good school and an invite to try out with the Nets. But it didn’t work out and it took me 1.5 years to find something. It’s difficult to say that talent supersedes that label that people put on you. Once you go out and prove yourself, understand what it is worth and how it translates to the international market.”
Howard’s advice for a successful basketball career abroad
Embrace it and take advantage of it as much as you can. Not only for basketball, but to build a business, or give back to your community. Being abroad and being away from your community for an extended period of time is not easy for a career.
My Dad always said “Keep banging“. So keep pushing and banging on new doors. When the door opens, step through it and embrace every aspect and opportunity. Learn from the folks who are already there and making it. As you are going, you invite new people in and let them in.
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