Playing Basketball for Money – Overseas

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Peyton Aldridge saves 80% of his salary from playing professional basketball for overseas teams, investing some of his earnings in the stock market.

The 2014 LaBrae High School graduate, now in his fourth year as a professional, is playing for Petkim Spor in Izmir, Turkey, this season.

A car and a two-bedroom apartment are included in his contract. Aldridge, who is represented by longtime sports agent Keith Glass, also secured round-trip tickets for his parents, Lisa and Rick, to visit him.

“He really works his magic there. It’s just a lot of back and forth, finding that middle ground, coming to an agreement,” Aldridge says of Glass.

On average, those playing in Europe could make anywhere from $60,000 to $500,000 per year, while in Asia and Australia it ranges between $120,000 to $400,000 with pay between $1 million to $3 million in China, according to EuroProBasket.com.  The rest of the world averages between $2,000 to $20,000.

Unless a player was on the cusp of being drafted by an NBA team, European teams want those they sign to prove themselves on the court before paying them upward of $700,000 – a salary some of Aldridge’s teammates have seen.

“Once you make a name for yourself, the teams are willing to pay you,” he says.

Aldridge says the team usually handles taking out taxes as an employer would here in the United States, but emphasizes he has an international accountant to handle those matters and keep current with the Internal Revenue Service.

The 25-year-old basketball player and former Davidson College standout is setting himself up for his future endeavors. He’s hoping to coach collegiate basketball when he’s done playing professionally.

“My goal is to be able to live the way I want to live at the age of 45, 50 years old, because I’ve saved from the age of 22 to 30 where I can enjoy my life when I have a family,” Aldridge says. “I’m enjoying myself now, but I’m putting my future first.”

Kendrick Perry

Former Youngstown State University standout Kendrick Perry, who has played professionally since 2014, says he’s seen players double what they make from one year to the next.

“I think it’s just a credit to them being in the right position, being ready for opportunities,” he says.  

Perry’s agent is Misko Raznatovic, who also represents Cleveland Cavaliers guard Cedi Osman. Perry says he and Raznatovic have discussions on how he can maximize his potential as a player and being comfortable playing for a certain coach.

Former Ursuline High School and Wright State University standout Mark Hughes moved up from the LEB Silver to Gold League this year in Spain, playing for Lleida this fall.

Heading into his third year of professional basketball, he says his financial priorities have shifted from buying the newest pair of athletics shoes to saving his earnings overseas.

Not only was Hughes’ housing provided, but so were his meals by the restaurant sponsor of the team last season.  “I don’t spend my money on too much of anything. So I’ve been really good about it the last two years,” he says.

Hughes, a 2015 Ursuline graduate, says he’s been very fortunate to have played for teams that have paid him on time, whether it was last year in Spain or his first year in England.

“[Not being paid on time] is kind of a common thing in a lot of places,” he says.

Peyton Aldridge

Receiving late payments or going months without receiving a check is something Perry has experienced multiple times. He says it is one of the bumps of professional overseas life.

Aldridge says he’s waiting on a month’s payment from one of his former teams, but agreed that it’s part of the overseas process.

“At the end of the day, we’re playing basketball three, four hours a day and getting paid to do it. So can’t complain about that,” Aldridge says.

Sometimes it’s about language barriers as players were often tested for the coronavirus overseas. Aldridge remembers being in a Turkish hospital with his team’s trainer speaking broken English.

“[The trainer was] sitting there with a doctor talking Turkish for five minutes,” Aldridge says. “You’re just sitting there wondering if everything is alright. Then, they just look at you and say, ‘Everything’s OK.’

“You guys just talked for 10 minutes, and you’re wondering what’s happening. It’s a little scary in that aspect, but it’s all right.”

Pictured at top: Former Ursuline High School standout Mark Hughes moved up from the LEB Silver to Gold League this year in Spain.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.