Until a month ago, if you had asked me about the NBA Development League, I would have swiftly expressed my disinterest and looked to change the subject. In the past, I had always seen the NBDL as an under developed professional league, made even more unattractive by horror stories told by friends who played there in the past. As a professional basketball player, I find the biggest turn off to be the low level of monetary compensation. Most players feel that participation in the European market is more worth their time, generally making considerably more than the top players in the D-League. Others complained of the politics involved on the business end and the poor quality of facilities and travel. After a recent phone call from Allan Houston, Assistant GM of the New York Knicks and GM of the Westchester Knicks, I was forced to re-evaluate my position.
This situation brings to mind one of my favorite quotes: “Until you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will never change.” Of course, when focused on all the things that may or may not be negatives, I failed to see what could be the greatest opportunities. After a closer look, I began to understand (more than I already understood) that every situation will present a unique set of pros and cons, pluses or minuses.
The phone call from Houston led me to White Plains, NY, to work out for the Westchester Knicks, D-League affiliate of the New York Knicks. Before deciding that I wanted to make myself an available free agent for the D-League, I had to take one last look at my pros and cons list. Luckily for me, the experience for which I was deciding to make myself available came with the highly respected New York Knicks organization. Aside from said obvious plus point, there were many other great things that this opportunity could bring. Until working out in New York at the Knicks training facility, I had never fully recognized such opportunities as playing for and learning from coaches that have NBA experience, and playing on a stage directly accessible to NBA general managers and executives. It was then that I realized just how close I could potentially be to the door that could open for a chance at achieving one of my biggest goals: playing in the NBA. The most intriguing benefit that I could think of, however, turned out to be the simplest of all. After college, I began my professional career in Europe, staying there for four consecutive seasons. I had never played in the D-League before, and the thought of taking on a new challenge, and exploring a new opportunity was something that seemed to exciting to pass up.
After the workout, I was invited back to NY, where I am now currently on the training camp roster, working to find my way onto the regular season roster in time for the first game on Nov 16th. Intriguingly, my first year playing in the D-League is also the inaugural season for Westchester Knicks. I look forward to being able to represent the New York Knicks organization and securing a final roster spot with the Westchester Knicks after the conclusion of camp.