This piece was written by Jamal Clay, a frequent contributor of Globally Ballin and the founder of "The Athletes Forum"
Playing basketball in Illinois was an experience that prepared me for the rest of my career. There was so much talent in Illinois and I had an opportunity to play great players. Players such as Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor...man they are cold! This let me elevate my game and made me knowledgeable of what I needed to improve in order to get to the next level. You have to be tough every single game in Illinois because it's gritty basketball. Everyone wants it. Everyone is competitive. It was amazing.
I love playing ball overseas. I would say the best part is a mixture of two things. One is European basketball has different insights on basketball. Meaning, I learn so much from the coaches and players I play with and I can add to my game. Already this year, I learned small movements and footwork that is different from how I play. I love being the student again and playing free. Second is the culture. I love traveling to different countries and experiencing how they live, eat, talk, and commerce. It's so interesting to compare the differences to the United States. That being said, it's a chance to get out of my comfort zone and do things I never thought I would. A true blessing.
Last year we had some time off, so I had the chance to travel. I went to Scotland, Paris, and Venice. By far, my favorite was Venice. It was such a chill vibe. A small place with no cars and happy people. The canals were so beautiful, and the food was great as well. One of the most relaxing places I have ever been. Also, people were teaching me words in Italian which was very fun. Paris was also very fun. My favorite part was the Louvre and the crepes!
This year I signed with the Surrey Scorchers. I signed here because of the family culture established. I'm excited to be a part of it and hopefully continue to grow it too. Our coach, coach Creon also wants me to play the point guard position which I'm very excited about. He already has taught and developed me on and off the court. He has placed every player on our team in a position of success. I'm looking forward to winning and being a leader. Last year, I was able to learn from Mackey McKnight, the point guard of the Sheffield Sharks. Being a point guard means I have to be vocal, distribute the rock, and be one of the leaders. I'm excited to do that and hopefully bring some silverware back to Surrey.
To the Scorchers fans, thank you for already accepting me into the family. You guys have already been amazing and a true support base. I hope to make you guys very proud of this team and to be active in the community to get to know you guys! Hope everyone is staying safe and hope to see everyone soon!
I appreciate being on the Forum. Be easy!