Since there is not much circulation of basketball being fulfilled in the states, most of the NBA hype is coming from overseas, at least from the Detroit Pistons side of life.
The more mainstream ball players like Deron Williams have been closely followed, but there are plenty of other NBA men trying to make a living in light of the current NBA dispute.
Detroit Pistons’ Austin Daye is one of those men. Daye may have never thought that his journey to the NBA would land him in Detroit and then just as quickly as he entered the league he would have to find an alternative means to support himself in spite of it.
His road has most recently landed him in Russia playing as a replacement for an injured player, who now has begun taking some of his time back over from the two-year Pistons’ standout. He discusses some of the culture changes in Russia, specifically Moscow, and how he has had to adapt in a place where a lot of the people do not look or speak like him.
Here is an excerpt from the Hoops Hype blog interview conducted by Nima Zarrabi:
So your contract is only for two months. If the NBA season is canceled, will you stay there?
AD: I’m not sure. It’s up in the air. We need to see if the team would want to extend, if not it would be my choice to come home. I’m kind of eager to come home and work out with my trainer in Los Angeles. It all depends on playing time as well. I came to help a team with a player that was hurt and now that he’s coming back, I’m getting less minutes, which I understand. I knew that was part of the process.
What are some of the differences in culture when you compare Moscow to Southern California, where you grew up?
AD: Everyone smokes here, I can tell you that. It’s just a little different, but it’s how you would figure it to be, it’s the European style. Moscow is the main city, where a lot of money is and you see a lot of Maybachs and Porsches and nice cars.
Zarrabi also managed to work a little lockout talk into the conversation just to see where Daye’s head was in light of the constant rejection from the union to the league’s proposals and how he felt about Jerry Stackhouse’s comment aimed directly at Union president, Derek Fisher’s involvement in the process.
The Players’ Union rejected the latest NBA proposal on Tuesday night. Do you support the union leadership and where do you think we are headed in this labor battle?
AD: I have no idea where it’s going to go. I’m just hoping the union can come together and find a solution to this problem. I’m a supporter of the union, I believe strongly that they are doing all the right things. Right now D-Fish [Derek Fisher] is working his butt off to get a deal done. There is so much pressure on him and hearing the comments Jerry Stackhouse was making kind of hurt. I know D-Fish is working real hard for the best interests of the players. I know Billy Hunter is trying to do the same thing. As far as the owners go, I understand, it’s a business. Hopefully they can understand that we have helped build this game back to having a great image. The last couple of years our stock has been rising and more people are watching.
Did Stackhouse’s comments surprise you, especially the timing and tone?
AD: The timing did. Jerry Stackhouse is a smart guy. But it’s not like D-Fish is making my fourth year deal or out there getting my extension. It comes down to how you play, regardless. Everyone knows that. Some guys get overpaid, but they worked to get overpaid and it’s a general manager who decided to pay them that money. It comes down to having a great general manager who knows what he’s doing and having a great system within your organization to build a winner. You see what Joe did with Chauncey and Rasheed [Wallace] and those guys. He built a winner. The Lakers are always going to be an attraction. But you have to be able to find different ways. Oklahoma City was able to draft great players. Golden State is right there trying to put together some great pieces. There are a lot of teams that are exciting and trying to make moves.
Daye’s thoughts on Stackhouse’s outbursts concerning the direction in which Fisher is pulling the league and its players are undoubtedly echoed by other players in the league. The idea that the players are crumbling from the inside out was simply reinforced by his statements. David Stern and the owners were made more aware that the end of the lockout would come sooner than predicted and that they would be on the upside by the finish line.
However, what Pistons’ fans should take away from the interview conducted and his time overseas is that the young player has grasped the concept of what many before him have yet to: an air of humility, a sense of motivation and a growing maturity even given failing circumstances. Daye is making the best of his time as each side deliberates how the future of the league will be catered to and managed which is all any Pistons’ faithful can ask for.