Josh Childress started his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks, but spent two seasons in Europe playing for Olympiacos in Greece before returning to the NBA last season with the Phoenix Suns.
It’s fair to say that Childress is an authority on the Euroleague. Europe has become a hot-button topic lately, with NBA superstars such as Deron Williams, Dwyane Wade, Amare Stoudemire and Kobe Bryant are entertaining the thought of playing overseas should the NBA lockout persists. Childress recently talked to ESPN’s First Take about his experience in Greece, and after hearing what he had to say maybe players should rethink this whole European exploration.
“My main thing is do your research and make sure that you know what you’re getting into,” the 28-year-old forward said. “It’s not bad. I really enjoyed my time in Greece and in Europe. I was with a great organization and had great ownership.
“But I just wanted to let guys know to make sure exactly the type of team and organization you’re going to.”
Childress, who helped Olympiacos reach the Euroleague final in 2010, described his overall European experience as “wonderful” and says he truly enjoyed his time in Greece. However, there are some drawbacks, mainly dealing with the tardiness of the paychecks.
He said European pro clubs oftentimes are late in paying their players, and that’s not something NBA players have ever had to deal with. “It depends on the team, but primarily you’re at the mercy of the clubs,” Childress said. “Sometimes you don’t get your payment on time and you kinda have to deal with it.”
He added, “I was lucky to be with ownership that took care of everything, but that’s not the case everywhere.”
Childress also noticed a difference during ballgames, as fans get more boisterous and sometimes become part of the action. “You’re in the gym and fans can throw things at you,” he said. “Sometimes they have a laser pointed in your face while you’re at the free throw line.
“And the referees, sometimes, are corrupt. But you learn and deal with it and try to play through it.”
Another thing Childress mentioned was the travel. He said his club team, Olympiacos, was fairly good about housing players on nice hotels, but the flights are commercial, which should be enough to scare off the majority of NBA prima donnas. Can you image Kobe and LeBron flying commercial? The horror.
His advice for those players who are thinking about Europe? “My advice, two things: Number one, make sure you are sure of yourself. [Second], make sure you have your contract done at a neutral country. I had mine in Switzerland. When we had payment problems, we’d go to court there.
“Those are the two biggest things. Make sure you are covered.”