The NBA's grip on world basketball substantially loosened after the recent signing of Atlanta Hawks SF Josh Childress to the rising Greek Olympiakos.
Childress is just the latest of a long list of players to go overseas this offseason that includes Carlos Delfino, Primo Brezec, Bostjan Nachbar, and high school prospect Brandon Jennings, who decided to skip college after being told he couldn't enter the NBA.
But the defection of Childress resonated much louder than the previous signings, and the reaction to his departure signifies a gradual shift in the tides.
Childress was a highly effective and dynamic 6th man for the surprise Atlanta Hawks this season, and his exit puts fear into every NBA executive, manager, and coach.
And that fear comes from the startling realization that the greatest basketball players around the world no longer have to play in the NBA to make their money—now they have options.
And as the dollar continues to fall in unison with the Euros' steady rise, the possibilities of going overseas will become even more enticing, especially for solid NBA players who can make the kind of money in Europe that only first-class superstars in the NBA can even dream about.
Doubters might as well ask Childress himself, who signed a three-year deal for a reported $20 million dollars without taxes.
This signing might have set the precedent that could lead to a sudden influx in players who will not only leave for Europe, but will use this new found leverage to attract more money than ever before in contract negotiations.
Whatever may happen, one thing is for sure: the U.S. will no longer be the only place to find high-quality basketball.
The game of basketball is indeed revolutionizing in front of our eyes, and though it may lead to a thinner NBA, the global game will prosper like never before.
Childress might be just the tip of the iceberg, because if bona-fide NBA superstars start to follow suit it will become startlingly clear that basketball has become a game of true international parity.
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