Northern Nash grad knows there are no guarantees in overseas hoops


Michael 'Moe' Deloach


Sports Editor

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

 Michael “Moe” Deloach wasn’t upset when he saw the large amounts of money being offered to NBA free agents beginning last week.

Deloach is not in the NBA, but as a veteran overseas player, he can appreciate owners giving players their just due.

“It’s well deserved,” Deloach said. “You have to pay the players. I’m not against it.”

The Rocky Mount native and Northern Nash graduate has made a solid living for himself in his first six seasons, but whether he can negotiate a rare two-year deal during the next few weeks or settles for just a one-year contract, Deloach will be content with his checks arriving on time.

NBA teams don’t have any problems making payroll, and Deloach has been more fortunate than not to recieve his playing checks on time. But there have been times during his career overseas that a paydate has passed with no money transferred to his bank account.

It comes with the ups and downs of playing thousands of miles away from home and in countries that follow U.S. standards with regard to written contracts.

“There’s a lot of stuff that people don’t understand,” Deloach said. “My first year, my team folded and went bankrupt. Luckily, I was picked up two days after, but there’s nothing you can really do. You’re going by a European country where whatever is written down isn’t always true.”

Deloach, who has played in Italy the past two seasons, said there is a risk taken depending on the league, country or team for which one plays. The lure of playing basketball in another part of the world after college is enticing, but nobody wants to play free. He said there is a lot of emailing and Facebook chatter between players with regard to how a particular team might handle their finances.

“You can’t just take any (deal),” Deloach said. “You don’t know, and your agent doesn’t know how things are going to turn out. It’s kind of hit or miss.”

Deloach, 29, just finished his finest season as a pro. The former Norfolk State standout was named to the All-Italian second team after averaging 18 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists for Orasi Ravenna.

He said he plans to play another three or four seasons before retiring and returning to Rocky Mount year round. The guaranteed money of the NBA might help those players when it comes to frequent travel and missing out on family events, but Deloach is not afforded such opportunities. He said he hasn’t been to a Northern Nash basketball game in more than a decade, and he is out of the country from August until April in most years.

Like many, he loves basketball, and that is what makes past uncertainties worth the risk.

Some players are in countries where their checks might not arrive on time, and even worse, their teams are located in high-terrorism areas.

So, yes, the NBA free agents have more than just guaranteed contracts for which to be thankful.

“Basketball is basketball,” Deloach said. “It’s played the same worldwide. The main reason people don’t stick it out is off the court things.”