BASKETBALL: Marissa Kastanek, a professional basketball player in Puerto Rico, is my guest for episode 44 of the Fit across Cultures Podcast. As always, you can listen here, by clicking the play button above or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher.
“Going abroad was not only it a great way to propel my basketball career, but it was also a great way to travel. This may be my only chance to travel for extended periods of time. Not just as a vacation for 2 weeks. That’s probably my favorite part [of playing abroad].”
Marissa played college ball at North Carolina State University, but wanted to maximize her athlete career before entering “the real world”. She played professionally overseas in Sweden, Czech Republic, and now Puerto Rico.
In this podcast episode, we talk about:
- getting to the highest point in your sports career
- Marissa’s first unique season of playing abroad in Sweden, staying with a host family
- getting a first contract overseas via agencies
- the mindset of a professional player and being a product
- choosing an offer and having an advisory board and transparent agent
- social media’s influence on the transparency and honesty in the system of professional sports
- nerve-wracking cultural differences when grocery-shopping abroad
The life of a professional athlete abroad
“I’m a product, I am the thing that is being sold. I need to perform. Get my reputation out there that is making me a good product.”
“The simple things that you are used to don’t exist overseas. Budgeting is a nightmare when everything is in a different currency. Grocery trips that should take 15 min take an hour. On the flip side, it helps me as a person. In the U.S., there is no situation where I would feel that uncomfortable. It helps me grow.”
Marissa’s Advice for Athletes Abroad
- Bring along some familiar products to start off with something you like.
- Live in the moment! This is a chance of a lifetime. If you don’t like it, you can always come back.
- Embrace where you are. Accept that you are not home anymore and that things are different. When you are in a place, be there and be there fully.
Get in touch with Marissa
If you have questions about playing abroad, reach out to Marissa via email (Listen to the episode to find her email there).