Easiest Pro Basketball Leagues To Get Into: 5 Countries Known For Giving Players Their Chance In Overseas Basketball 
Getting into overseas basketball is very difficult.
Yes, I know:
You read the title and thought there was some “easy” way for you to get into professional basketball leagues.
Sorry, not the case.
Whatever overseas pro level you play at will take plenty of hard work, smarts, commitment, determination and quite frankly - luck.
But that isn’t to say it’s impossible - far from it.
Even in today’s over saturated market, there are still plenty of overseas pro basketball leagues out there that are great candidates to give rookies and beginners their opportunity in overseas basketball.
Let’s take a look at each.
what is the easiest professional basketball league to get into?
First things first:
Before we go into specific countries, remember this UNIVERSAL RULE when it comes to easily getting into overseas basketball leagues:
In general, the easiest overseas basketball league to get into for professional basketball players will always be the country/league in which the player holds a passport/nationality in.
In this way, you will count as a national player, incentivizing teams much more to sign you since you won’t count against the foreigner player quota.
If you don’t understand why being a national rather than a foreigner is so important in overseas basketball then stop reading this blog post right now (seriously).
Understand Why Your Passport is The Most Important Asset For Professional Teams and watch the video below.
There is nothing that will be more important to your overseas basketball success (other than your GAME, itself).
There are some exceptions.
Some players may have difficulty playing in their “home country” or “home league” simply because it is too competitive.
I know many Puerto Rican players who have played overseas throughout the world but are unable to get a roster spot in their own Puerto Rican pro league, the Baloncesto Superior Nacional, simply because it’s such a high-level.
The more discouraging scenario?
If your home country doesn’t really have a formal - and paying - pro league to begin with.
For those people let’s take a look at specific countries overseas that could get you started.
What is the easiest country to play pro basketball in?
While no professional basketball league will be “easy” per se to get into, some countries such as Spain, Germany, Mexico and Canada are known for having leagues with an excess number of teams, divisions and/or roster spots available for players, making these some of the most accessible leagues in overseas basketball.
When determining what makes an overseas league “easy” to get into, my criteria was the following:
Number of Teams
Number of import/foreign-born players allowed
Number of divisions
Difficulty of obtaining work visa permit
Level of competition (i.e. are they looking for rookies?)
Based on this, things such as:
Likelihood of job offers
…will all be impacted.
Let’s get into specific leagues now.
easiest pro leagues to get into: spain eba
Spain’s 4th Division - known as Liga Española de Baloncesto Aficionado or EBA - is one of the most accessible leagues in overseas basketball to get into due to the high number of teams, roster opportunities and low salary wages that are paid.
When thinking of EBA, know one number:
There are 127 teams currently in EBA!
That means a MASSIVE amount of opportunities, roster spots and possibilities for players - foreign-born or not.
It gets better though:
Spain also allows Bosman A and Cotonou passport holders into the league, meaning you don’t even necessarily have to be Spanish to be counted as a national (highly valuable).
In recent years it has become increasingly more difficult for foreigner-born players to get into the country as the government has cracked down on EBA.
Apparently this all stems from an incident years ago when some Spanish coaches would illegally smuggle players (Cotonou) into the country for their club.
According to EBA coaches this means that all contracts must now be screened and validated by the Spanish government officially before any player can enter and formally begin playing.
And because the fee attached with these VISAs are usually quite high - especially when considering how little you’ll make in EBA - teams will try to get creative with legal loopholes such as getting players study or work visas (through an actual job).
This was the case when I was negotiating with a club in this division.
This can become too much of a headache for many players and teams (myself included).
So, many coaches will simply opt for recruiting good national (Bosman A) players instead since they can enter visa-free.
But if you are willing to do the work and invest a bit into yourself (through finding a job in Spain or studying there), there are certainly no shortage of options with 127 teams and 2 imports allowed per squad.
The hurdle in EBA is not the competition then but the logistics (assuming you already got GAME).
easiest pro leagues to get into: GERMANY regionalliga
Much like Spain, Germany’s Regionalligas (two divisions) are some of the most accessible and easiest leagues to get into by just looking at the sheer volume of teams, divisions and opportunities available for players.
As of 2021, there are 164 teams, 14 divisions and approximately 1,650 roster spots up for grabs between the two conferences (first and second division).
Like Spain, Germany also allows Bosman A players.
There is also an added advantage for any German-heritage players throughout the world as the requirements for a German passport can date as far back as your great-grandparents.
Whenever you are looking into leagues with such a HUGE volume of teams, the competition is bound to be a little watered down.
Germany’s Regionalliga is no different.
While I would never say any overseas league is easy, it’s not uncommon for many domestic players in these leagues to be unpaid while holding down another “real” full-time job.
That means there will be plenty of clubs in these conferences without foreigners simply because they cannot pay them.
So you have to ask yourself:
Are you willing to make a financial investment in yourself and meet a team half way (e.g. pay for your own flight, covering half your meals) if you are fortunate enough to get a contract offer in this league?
That’s something only YOU can decide.
I’ve seen plenty of players GRIND in this league for a year or two and move onto better leagues within Europe (you have to kill it though since it’s low[er]-level).
I’ve seen even more fold like a lawn chair when the going got tough.
easiest pro leagues to get into: mexico cibapac basketball league
With 24 teams, 2 foreign-born players allowed per squad and another 10 franchises to be integrated in the coming years, Mexico’s CIBAPAC is one of the most accessible pro leagues that players could get their start in overseas basketball if they are interested in playing in Latin America.
Originally developed as a developmental league/project for Mexico’s younger generation, the CIBAPAC has basically become the farm system to the CIBACOPA - one of the top divisions in Mexico.
That means if you are fortunate enough to land with a CIBAPAC franchise that also has a nearby parent CIBACOPA team, you could be getting promoted to the big boys if you play well enough - and with that, big money.
Here’s an example of the CIBACOPA level…
But even if you just stay in the CIBAPAC:
Mexican basketball as a whole is viewed pretty favorably in Latin America.
One other HUGE factor working in YOUR favour to make this league easily accessible:
Mexico doesn’t require many countries to have one to enter.
Check out this list of countries that can enter Mexico for 180 days without a VISA.
Photo credit: www.gob.mx/
That means unlike some of the other countries on this list where you could get lost in the logistics of trying to get a VISA, you won’t face that here.
And even if you have to get a VISA, Mexico and Latin America as a whole are very lenient with that stuff.
P.S. Be prepared for some ROUGH basketball in the CIBAPAC.
If you do get an opportunity remember: high-impact protection shoes for the concrete floors (I’ve used these before), cushioned socks and a foam roller - your body will thank me later.
easiest pro leagues to get into: national basketball league of canada (nblc)
While far from an “easy league”, the National Basketball League of Canada (NBLC) has found one of the most interesting blends in overseas basketball between accessibility and competitiveness as it currently allows 6 foreign-born players per roster.
Because of this higher threshold on foreign-born players (usually Americans) and Canada’s overall strength in national talent (No.21 in the world), this league is fairly respected in many parts of the world.
But don’t get me wrong here:
The competition in this league is HIGH.
But so is player turnover.
And with so many import spots up for grabs, the league is like a revolving door.
Just look at how many players got:
…all within the span of a week in the last regular month of play in 2020.
So lots of players - including rookies - come and go every season.
It’s just a matter of whether YOU can stick.
The YOU I’m referring to is in reference to my American brothers.
This league is almost tailor-made for the Yankees as much as it is for Canadians.
Just think, there are:
No complicated VISA requirements for Americans
6 import slots available
Combines located everywhere in the States (they are literally looking for Americans)
Established American pipelines to the league
IS THE BASKETBALL LEAGUE (TBL) A GOOD LEAGUE?
Photo credit: TBL.com
If you are unable to get into the NBLC, then The Basketball League (TBL) would be a good way to circumvent your way into the NBLC or elsewhere.
There are 34 teams in TBL and it is made up almost entirely of Americans.
So that means plenty of opportunities for unknown players to get their start.
The good news:
David Magley - former commissioner of the NBLC - is the current President of the TBL so there are sure to be plenty of connections running between the two leagues.
Every season TBL players can be seen making the leap to the NBLC and then onto bigger leagues from there.
So there you have it.
The easiest overseas basketball league to get into will almost always be the league in which you hold citizenship in.
But if it’s not because it’s too competitive or you don’t have a “home league” to begin with then start looking elsewhere.
Spain, Germany, Mexico and Canada (plus the TBL in the US) are all great options to begin.
Australia’s State Leagues is another bonus option if you’re interested in researching more.
And while no overseas basketball league will be flat out easy to get into, there are definitely some pro clubs out there that are easier and more accessible than others.
What “easy” overseas basketball league will you try to get into?
Get in the comments and let me know.