Barcelona guard Jacob Pullen has admitted that if you own a non-U.S. passport, you’re a European side’s golden ticket.
Pullen, who is currently a free agent as his one-year contract with the Liga Endesa champions expired at the end of the season, explained that the chances of getting on to a top side increase if you own a non-U.S passport.
If an American has a European passport, then technically, that American can be counted as a European player and in turn, gives the player possible leverage in contract negotiations.
“You look at good teams, and they find a way to get Americans,” Pullen told SLAM Online. “Most of the times it’s with a passport. That’s a smart thing to do.”
Pullen, who owns a Georgian passport was on the Phoenix Suns roster in 2012, but was convinced into getting a Georgian passport by Igor Kokoškov, an assistant coach who also ran the Georgian national team.
“He asked me if I wanted to join the team and get a passport, and I was like, Yeah,” Pullen recalls. “Now every high-level team in Europe will sign me [because] I have a [non-US] passport. A [non-US] passport is a lot of money over here. You get one of those things, you’re like gold, man — everybody wants you.”
The Kansas State guard gained a passport for Georgia in 2012, but didn’t feature for the national team at Eurobasket last year in Slovenia, as Ricky Hickman was preferred instead.