Former Oakland University star Mike Helms helping expand the game in Canada

December 13, 2012 in Professional

By Patrick Hayes

One of the not so subtle facts about playing professional basketball in other countries is the need for the players to not only perform for their teams, but also help expand the fanbases of the teams and leagues they play for. Mike Helms, a former Oakland University standout, is now a veteran of professional leagues abroad and he’s currently playing in the NBL in Canada for the Windsor Express. Helms recently talked to the Windsor Star about the concept of exposing new fans to the game:

Helms looked around at the stands packed with wide-eyed teenagers awed by the basketball skills being put on display and encountered a flashback to his high school days.

“I remember being their age and having assembly,” Helms said.

“But we never had a professional team come out and speak to us.”

It’s all part of the drill when you’re a fledgling franchise seeking to gain a foothold within the local sporting community.

“Giving back, giving time,” Helms said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Enjoying a basketball career that’s taken him to such far-off locales as Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Israel and Germany, Helms knows all about selling the game in markets where basketball is in foreign territory.

“It’s similar to an experience I had before, in Singapore,” Helms explained.

“We were the new kids in town, so you’ve got to get out actively into the community.”

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