Beyond the NBA, professional basketball careers know no borders and Moline native Acie Earl understands that as much as anyone.
The former all-Big Ten post player for Iowa spent eight of the 12 seasons he played professionally circling the globe, competing for teams in 13 countries and learning at every stop along the way.
Earl is now sharing his experiences and those of several of his former Hawkeye teammates in his newly-published book “How to Play Overseas: 26 Rules Every American Player Must Know,’’ a how-to of sorts for players whose careers take them beyond the borders of the United States.
“When you play, that’s what you want to do, and most of those opportunities are overseas,’’ said Earl, a first-round NBA draft pick of the Celtics in 1993 who spent four seasons in the league with Boston, Milwaukee and Toronto before experiencing what he is now writing about.
Earl’s career took him to Australia, China, Turkey, Russia, Poland and Croatia among others before he returned to Iowa City where he now trains young players and coaches youth teams.
“There are things that players need to know and things that can make your career so much better if you are prepared and what I’ve tried to do is answer a lot of the questions that players might have about competing overseas,’’ Earl said.
He decided to put his thoughts in print following a discussion with another former Hawkeye, Mike Gatens, who contacted him to discuss his experiences before Gatens’ son, former Hawkeye Matt Gatens, left last year to compete for a team in the Ukraine.
“I told Mike that I had been thinking about writing a book and he said, ‘Do it, please write it’ because he felt there are a number of players, coaches and families of players who are searching for that type of information,’’ Earl said.
The result is a 214-page book that is broken down into 31 chapters of information and anecdotes.
It covers everything from the basics of banking, taxes, transportation, food and passports to what a player can expect as the lone foreign player on a roster, what type of lifestyle a player can expect to lead in foreign countries and the significance of having a good agent.
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“There’s a lot to go into it. It’s not all about where to go to cash a $30 check,’’ Earl said.
“I did not have the right agent when I first went overseas and I was cut from my first three teams. That almost cost me my career. I had to go to Australia and China and work my way back up to where I was the MVP in three leagues, but I was able to do that in part because I ended up with the right agent.’’
Earl details those experiences and those of several of his former Iowa teammates, including Darryl Moore, Kent Hill and Bill Jones, that he believes will be helpful to players interested in pursuing overseas opportunities.
He believes the paperback book, which is also available online through Amazon and Barnes & Noble, is a good read for casual fans of the game as well as for players and coaches.
Earl has had college coaches purchase copies for players who may have a future in the sport once their collegiate eligibility ends.
“Most coaches are so busy recruiting for the future of their own programs that they don’t have all the answers about the foreign game,’’ Earl said. “My hope is that the book provides a good resource for that information and the feedback I’ve received so far is that it is a helpful book.’’