Brown waiting for next overseas call

Published 06/16 2014 02:29PM

Updated 06/16 2014 06:35PM

CHICAGO - After seven seasons overseas playing in six different countries, former Illinois star Dee Brown is now a free agent waiting to find out which team will sign him for next season.

"I moved back to Chicago maybe three weeks ago," Brown said.  "Just been working out, getting ready for next season.  The process in the summer is you're just working out, staying healthy, staying sharp on your game.  Waiting for your agent to shop you around.  For me it's always tough because you never know where you're going to end up."

That's life for the one-man fast break after playing last season for VEF Riga in Latvia - his latest in a series of one-year contracts - Brown is waiting to hear where he will get to play next.  In the meantime he spends about four hours every day working out, watching film, conditioning and swimming - not having any idea which corner of the world he will be playing in just two short months from now.

"It's a little stressful, but just playing basketball man," said Brown, "making sure you're ready so when a team do call you, that you're ready to go play."

Brown lived with his former Illinois teammate Deron Williams last summer, so the two could work out together.  He chose to spend this summer with his family in his hometown of Chicago.

"For me, just seeing my mom, seeing my kids for the summer really motivates me - really makes me happy," Brown said.

That is the biggest drawback of live overseas.  Brown doesn't get to take his entire family with him.  His two oldest sons, ages 11 and 7, have to stay back in Chicago for school.  Only his wife and two-year-old daughter got to travel with him to Latvia last season, and he is away from his sons as many as ten months a year.

"I don't get to see my sons and my mom," Brown said.  "Every line of work you've got to sacrifice.  You've got to sacrifice something.  To me, going oversees is a huge sacrifice, not being with my family.  But it's a sacrifice in which it's paying the bills.  It's also paving the way for a good future if my sons don't happen to play basketball."

Brown is coming off what he calls one of his worst seasons.  He will turn 30 later this summer, but he hopes some of his best basketball is still ahead of him.

"A lot of miles on my legs, but it's how you take care of your body from here on out," Brown said.  "I gotta take care of my body, and if my body holds up I want to play as long as I can."

Since leaving the U of I, and in between stints in the NBA with the Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards, Brown has played in Latvia, Israel, Turkey, China, Puerto Rico and Italy - all different cultures that bring their own unique challenges.

"I have some teammates where I don't understand them," Brown said.  "They don't understand me.  But you just get through it.  We all have a job to do, and when I go over there I just try to be as open-minded as possible because I understand where I'm going.  I'm going into someone else's country.  Someone else's city and play basketball."

Later this summer Dee will play with the national team of Senegal in a five-week Olympic qualifying tour.  After that finishes he will go straight from Africa to his next destination - wherever that might be.

"I'm around the world, seeing the world," Brown said.  "Some of the places that I've seen, I've learned in class or I used to read in books or you see on television when you're here.  I'm actually living in it, so it's been a blessing."

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