With three years of international experience while playing for four different teams, Dionte Christmas knows what the journey to the NBA is like. After signing a deal with the Boston Celtics on July 31, Christmas had the opportunity to not only represent Philadelphia basketball, but to offer some advice to his teammates in The-BALL showcase games on Aug. 4 and 5.
“Just don’t give up,” Christmas said of his message to his teammates trying to make it as a pro.
“I was telling (Ramone Moore) that your first year overseas is going to be hard,” Christmas said. “You’re lonely. A lot of things are different than being home. It’s easy to give up. A lot of guys couldn’t cut it, or just stopped playing. Overseas, I think it gets you prepared for the next level, meaning the NBA. The last three years have definitely helped me get to the next level.”
After going undrafted in 2009, Christmas played in Israel, the Czech Republic and Greece (for two years) before signing with the Celtics. He averaged 20 points per game in his final three seasons at Temple, where he played from 2005-2009. He was named to the Atlantic 10 first-team in his junior and senior seasons.
The 22-year-old Moore, who will be playing in Italy next season, listened as Christmas offered this advice.
“For young guys like Ramone, just go over there and work hard,” Christmas said. “It’s hard to self-motivate yourself and go in the gym. He has a great drive and knows what it takes to get there.”
Christmas said you have to give your all because scouts are watching – even if you think they aren’t.
“I was kinda surprised when Boston called me and told me that they were watching me throughout the year,” he said. “I’m over there and saying nobody watched me, I played in small city. But they were getting tape, talking to teams. I got great feedback [from teams]. I think that’s what got my foot in door. Now I’m just trying to make my way and have a solid career in the NBA.”
Christmas had a strong showing on Sunday night in The-BALL showcase, with 14 points and five assists in Team Philly’s 102-94 loss to Team D.C. Christmas took advantage of the 4-point shot, one of several innovations by The-BALL, with two of them coming in the third quarter.
-Related story: Read Aaron Bracy’s column on how The-BALL was fun for players and the fans.
-More coverage coming: Philahoops will have more coverage from The-BALL’s showcase game throughout the week.
-Teddy Bailey is the Penn Beat Writer for Philahoops. Contact him at email@example.com, @TheTeddyBailey on Twitter or Facebook.com/Philahoops.
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