In the past before excepting basketball jobs overseas I would try my best to make contact of former players from the team that is interested in me. Why? Every contract on surface sounds nice and dandy but sometimes their could be issues with the club or timing of payments. Depending on my circumstances it is always wise to do a fair amount of research of any team or club who has offered you a contract. When I came out of school there was no Facebook, only email and honestly not EVERYONE had an email account.
So, contacting people by phone was the only way to find out the scoop. However, now players have it A LOT easier. With social website gatherings such as Facebook, Myspace and Linkedin. You can honestly make your life so much easier and avoid losing time and patience by signing with a team that could give you headaches later.
How does it work? Easy!
First imagine this .. If I received an offer to play in Europe for FC Barcelona first I would head to their website. Look at the roster for the current season and a season once before. Search for players from your country, in my case I would search for an American player then copy their name in a text editor. Do that for any player that you can communicate with in your language.
Next, I would start with Facebook because you can confirm visually the player. If you search a player in Google.com and most likely they will be listed by Eurobasket.com, which gives “free” the players image. However, the complete profile at Eurobasket.com is a paid subscription. But starting that route is best.
Next, go ahead and fire up your Facebook account and do a search. Note, many top/famous players may not be listed. Some leagues forbid players from adding their personal accounts for security reasons and privacy obviously. Some players may even go by different names. But don’t worry not all leagues or players are restricted. Do a search for the name and confirm the picture or similarities of which you did in your Google Search.
Now, for the final step I wouldn’t recommend adding the person as a friend on Facebook.com. For respect in general I would simply write a private message stating who you are, why you are contacting and if they have time to help answer your questions. In the first message I would not write anything long but simply if they have time to answer a few questions about their former club.
If they respond great, if not – move onto the next and repeat. Don’t expect an answer from everyone. Social networks such as these many people don’t have time to answer and write back. Especially when it comes to strangers. However, they are some players that would be happy to help.
So, good luck!