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There's an interesting article here with an update on Josh Childress's life in Greece. The key idea throughout is that it takes a certain kind of person to go to Europe. To a large degree, this is true, not just of basketball players but of people in other walks of life, as well. And it's not just Europe but anywhere new. You have to be willing to make an effort to fit into your new surroundings. From the article, it seems that Childress is getting some of the things he missed - team dinners, chanting fans, etc. In short, it's more of a collegiate atmosphere. And that's what Childress wanted.

I just finished reading Paul Shirley's Can I Keep My Jersey? In it, he offers a slightly different take, which may be a product of his personality: he's sarcastic and pessimistic while Childress appears to be engaging and optimistic. Perhaps it's because Childress is making an effort (in fairness, Shirley got hurt while he played for Joventut in Spain, so that might have made him more uptight than Childress). It comes down to how the two approached their time in Europe: for Shirley, it was a job; for Childress, it's a job and an adventure.

I don't think the NBA has to fear a mass exodus of star players. Kobe Bryant's lip service when asked in China about playing in Europe was just that: politely giving the European press what it wanted to hear. Nobody seriously thought he would leave. But the players who could leave are the Josh Childress's of the world: sixth men who feel they can start and are worth more than the mid-level exception. These are players who can go to Europe and play for the big teams and make a lot of money. So, while the NBA will never lose the superstars, it could lose the glue guys. That might harm the league's depth but it won't kill the league. In fact, it will lead to a lot more World Championship and Olympic finals like we saw this year in Beijing.

That said, David Stern is wrong to just dismiss European basketball with sarcasm. The NYT article notes that Stern was "wringing his hands" wondering how the league would move on without Childress, Earl Boykins, and others. That's the wrong approach. The NBA should embrace Europe to grow the game. It should take the competition seriously. I hope more Americans think seriously about going to Europe. It can only benefit them and the game they play.

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