Overseas basketball presents a unique set of challenges. American players must navigate language barriers, adjust to differing styles of play and adapt to a new culture and way of life, often with a family in tow. It can also be highly rewarding, according to Slash International founder Charles Misuraca, whose agency represents former North Carolina stars Kenny Williams, Deon Thompson, Marcus Ginyard and James Michael McAdoo.
In an interview with Inside Carolina, Misuraca provided unique insight into the personal and business side of overseas basketball, using McAdoo’s newfound stardom in Japan to highlight non-NBA basketball careers.
In 2021, Misuraca orchestrated McAdoo’s 3-year, multi-million deal with Sun Rockers Shibuya, the largest deal in the history of Japanese basketball for an American player. Through 50 games this season, McAdoo is averaging 15.0 points and 8.4 rebounds while shooting a team-high 60.0 percent from the field. He plays alongside former Duke star Ryan Kelly, his co-host on The Better Blue Podcast.
Here’s Misuraca’s in-depth breakdown on the life and careers of international basketball players:
“A lot of them net more money overseas. McAdoo makes more money playing in Japan than any year playing basketball in the NBA, especially with the Golden State Warriors. The taxes are really high there. When he’s getting his money, it’s after tax. The team is paying the tax, and everything he’s receiving is net versus America, where his salaries were getting taxed. He’s actually making more money now than he did in the NBA.”
“Most players are making over seven figures in China. In China, most guys making a million is very common. In Japan, it’s not. McAdoo signed the largest contract in Japanese basketball history. But that market is definitely on the rise. It’ll continue to increase. That’s not average. But China and Japan are among the highest-paying markets around the world. We just signed Deon Thompson in Korea, and it was better money than what he had been making in Europe. A lot of these Asian markets are paying a lot more than European markets.”
“I went to see him in Japan last month; he’s doing really well. He’s made Japan home. He just signed another long-term extension there. He’s really embraced the culture. His family is embracing and enjoying it also. A lot of it was him just having to get familiar by taking things day by day. It’s a lot different than what he was used to in the U.S. or Europe. Japan’s culture is a lot different, but he’s enjoying it. He’s really just embracing life. He’s an amazing father, husband and basketball player. He’s going to have a great career whenever basketball is over with in whatever he wants to do.”
“A couple of years ago, he bought a home in Chapel Hill. He made that home. Even though they’re not there for a significant time of the year, he made that home. Some of our guys are not set on playing internationally forever. Maybe they go somewhere where they can maximize their money that year and set their families up. The following year, they want to pursue their NBA dream. A lot of them end up buying homes, just from a comfort standpoint for their families. But sometimes you’ll get guys that just rent or Airbnb for three months in the summer.”
“I built a niche representing former NBA guys that play internationally. I have represented Marcus Ginyard, James Michael McAdoo and we recently signed Deon Thompson. These guys play in all different markets, including stateside. I’ve built a niche helping former NBA guys make fringe NBA money internationally. That’s what we’ve become known for. I’m an attorney by trade, but I don’t practice law. I’m a California attorney, but I reside in Miami. This is what I do full time.”
“Every player’s marketability is different. We definitely do a lot off the court to help them to maximize their portfolio for where their fan base is and where their marketability is. We’ve had guys get endorsement deals all around the world. It depends on many factors like their social media following, how long they played in the market, their presence and long-term likelihood for where they’re currently at. There are a ton of factors. Some of the money is a lot bigger than others for the marketing side, but it’s a thing we’re also big on.”
“We’re really through word of mouth. It grew organically. We have a lot of former North Carolina guys. We have five former Baylor guys and maybe six former San Diego State guys. It’s just grown by word of mouth organically by doing right by each guy. Deon came over because he saw what we did with McAdoo over the past three years of representing him. It’s really continuously growing by doing right by each client.
“It is mostly word of mouth. But a lot of times, it’s through spending time with our own clients. I travel a lot internationally. I’m spending a lot of time with the guys. I take a trip to Chapel Hill every summer. Organically, a lot of introductions have been made. There’s a big skepticism amongst players with agents because there are so many not-great agents out there. I find a lot more enjoyment in doing right by our guys. Thankfully, they vouch for who I am and what we’ve done for them. It has grown from there.”