Dallas Mavericks Welcome International Player Renaldo Balkman to Training Camp

By Elaine J. Dispo
Kool Baller
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Mavericks could very well be one of the most intercultural teams in the NBA with their share of international players.

With the preseason just around the corner, the Mavs invited Renaldo Balkman to join their training camp. This forward brings a wide range of playing experience from around the world, as his time with the league has been limited.

When Balkman was drafted as the 20th overall pick in 2006, he started playing for the New York Knicks and continued with the Denver Nuggets. He then returned to New York, where he left off his NBA career during the 2011-12 season with regular season averages of 4.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 13.9 minutes per game.

Before returning to play Stateside, he made his world tour shooting hoops in Puerto Rico, the Philippines and Venezuela.

Unfortunately, Balkman may not have the best reputation in the P.I. (my native country) – where he averaged a whopping 24 points and 13 rebounds per game – after choking Petron Blaze Boosters teammate Arwind Santos, among other player violations, at their game against the Alaska Aces on Friday, March 8, 2013. This incident led to his ban and fine from the Philippines Basketball Association, and he has since issued a public apology. Hopefully, he will live up to his nickname, “Kool,” while staying cool, calm and collected on the court now that he is in Texas.

Dallas’ well-rounded roster already contains members who have professional basketball experience in other countries: power forward Dirk Nowitzki with Germany, as well as new guards José Calderon with Spain and Gal Mekel with Israel and Italy.

Let Pitbull’s “International Love” song play in our minds, particularly these lyrics: “You can’t catch me, boy,” because that’s what we would like to see happen when the Mavericks are on offense. Balkman, a.k.a. “The Plastic Man,” also “put it down (in) New York City,” his stomping grounds. Can he put up much better numbers in Dallas?

Elaine Dispo is a Dallas Mavericks writer for RantSports.com. Follow her on Twitter, “Like” her on Facebook or add her to your network on Google.

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