Deron Williams of the New Jersey Nets is reportedly planning to play in Turkey if the NBA lockout is not settled by the Fall. Other notable players entertaining the idea of playing in Europe include the Atlanta Hawks’ Zaza Pachulia, Kobe Bryant, and the Knicks duo of Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. The idea of NBA players playing in Europe has been debated and dissected by numerous TV shows, radio shows, and analysts across the industry with every concern cited from safety to ability to adapt.
Thinking with the sponsorship hat on, I believe it would be advantageous for stars of the NBA to compete in Europe from a business standpoint. Players would be able to showcase their personal brand, and the Nike’s and Reebok’s of the world would be able to leverage their high-profile athletes in a brand new global setting.
[As an aside, consider this a tip of the cap to WNBA. While most are compelled to compete abroad for financial reasons, one has to admire their willingness to put it all on the line. As of March 2011, 92 players from all 12 teams are competing in a dozen countries all over the world. See the full map where all WNBA players are competing here.]