Best Foreign NBA Players Of All Time
A dedicated article to the best foreign NBA players of all time, who are a bit in the shadow of big NBA stars. Meet some of the top European NBA players of all time and one special Argentinian player.
Today there are not so many teams in the NBA that they don’t have European players in it. I would like to dedicate this article to the best foreign NBA players who are a bit in the shadow of big NBA stars. NBA teams would not be so popular, and the league itself would be not so popular in Europe if there are no European players in the league.
NBA international players deserve they spot and whole fame because they brought something new in the league, some innovations, tactics, “Euro step” and much more. Today, NBA league made a strong connection with European basketball leagues, scout network is so strong, and there is no chance that some young player will miss NBA scouts eyes. Through whole Europe and World young basketball players travel in the US to NBA summer league camps.
They show their basketball skills and compare themselves with other players from other countries. More or less one of them will become big stars like Janis Antetokumpo, Kristaps Porzingis, Nikola Jokić or Rudi Gober. Maybe someday one of them will be in this updated article, who knows!?
I’m sure that people will have their own list of best European NBA players, but I think this one is going to be ok.
Without further due here are NBA Top 5 Best European basketball players.
A Legend of The San Antonio Spurs – Manu Ginobili
An agile Argentinean who at the age of 41 is still able to continue to play at a high level but he decided to retire. Ginobili arrived in San Antonio three years after being drafted as the only 57th pick in 1999, as a player of Reggio Calabria, the team that made the second place in the Italian league this season!
He arrived in San Antonio in 2002, and there he won four championship titles, with two appearances at All-Star and one title for the best sixth player of the league. A shooter with extraordinary energy, recognizable in that he does not choose the position on the court from where he will shot, ideally fits into all the thoughts of coach Greg Popovich. He became popular with his “Euro step”. He is the only player next to the legendary Bill Bradley (New York) who won Euroleague, the NBA League and was an Olympic champion. One of the best players ever from the South American continent, and certainly the best ever played in the NBA league. Almost certainly a future member of the Hall of Fame.
Vlade Divac – Lakers and Sacramento Kings Legend
The current general manager of the club in which he experienced the pinnacle of his career, Sacramento Kings, began his NBA career in the most exciting team (L. A. Lakers) as a replacement for the best center of all time – Kareem Abdul Jabbar. He is one of only 7 players in the history of the NBA that has scored a minimum of 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, and 1,500 blocks. The winner of 11 medals with the senior national team of Yugoslavia, the first player to be neither an American nor passed the American basketball school that played over 1,000 matches in the NBA league. Following the arrival of Shaquille O’Neal in the City of Angeles, the Lakers decided to trade him in Charlotte Hornets for high school sensation Kobe Bryant.
After 2 years he went back to California in Sacramento, where he played his best games with Stojakovic, Turkoglu, Webber, and Bibby. His number 21, which he has worn in Kings, was withdrawn at a ceremony in March 2009, and the game of Vlade Divac itself proved that the players who were “educated” in Europe can and know how to handle NBA stars.
Do You Know How Many Rings Does Tony Parker Have?
Still, an active player who played over (counting and playoff matches) 1,358 matches for Spurs and with that number of matches is the second player by the number of games played by all players born outside of America. With 36 years on his back, he is no longer as fast or as it used to be, but he is still a playmaker from whom other players are stunned. He was drafted in 2001 as the 28th pick by Spurs, and already at 19 years old and only two professional seasons in the French League decided to go in the NBA.
It was a good decision because he won 4 NBA titles (most of all European players), he was a participant of the All-Star match 6 times and won the 2007 MVP title. Although he is just 36 years old, he does not intend to stop yet. For now, he has “only” 4 championships rings in which he won in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2014.
The Spaniard – Pau Gasol, An All-Star Player
Older Gasol brother (on July, 37), he arrived in NBA in 2002 as a 21-year-old. He came to Memphis Grizzlies team straight from Barcelona as a champion of the Spanish League, Cup Winner and current MVP final series. Immediately became a rookie of the year, as one of only three players who handled it in the history of the league. Athletic player with excellent shooting ability, great the inside and outside the box. He is only the fourth player in the history of the league with a minimum of 20,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,500 assists, and 1,500 blocks.
He has experienced stellar moments in LA Lakers where he won two championship titles, and he was a participant of the All-Star event six times. He was elected four times in the All-NBA lineup. The winner is 10 medals with the senior national team of Spain.
A Legend by Dallas Mavericks – Dirk Nowitzki
The best non-American player who has not passed American basketball school is surely Dirk Nowitzki, the walking legend of Dallas Mavericks. This season will be most likely the last season and anniversary in the same team, which will equalize with the LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant for the number of years spent in the same club. Currently, he is the seventh player in the number of games played in the history of the NBA, and if you count the number of appearances in the same jersey in the regular season, Dirk is in third place, just behind the legendary duo of Utah Jazz John Stockton and Carl Malone.
Also, he is the sixth-scorer in the NBA’s history, with many good chances to end the career by passing and legendary Wilt Chamberlain in the fifth position, and the first non-American player who meets the criteria in this text after him is Pau Gasol who is “just” 43. On the list of the best NBA shooters. Who would say that the twenty-year-old, drafted by Milwaukee Bucks as the ninth pick (promptly forwarded to Dallas) will do so much in his career? He performed on 13 All-Star matches, and history only remembers 8 players who played in more of these games than him. He was also chosen 12 times in the All-NBA line-up and the highlight of his career was in 2011 when Dallas as an outsider won his only NBA title (4-2 against LeBron’s Miami) and Dirk was the MVP final.
Bonus Player: I saved him for the end and out of the list with a reason:
Meet The great Dražen Petrović (Croatia)
When he took the ball in his hands, the basketball was no longer the same. His incredible sports story was tragically interrupted, on June 7, 1993 – Drazen Petrovic was then killed in a serious car accident. He was “basketball Mozart”, one of the best basketball players of all time.
His first team in NBA was Portland, in a team with Drexler and Terry Porter he did not get the right chance. Because of that, he moved to New Jersey, and then Drazen’s American fairy tale started.
He played like a storm, he did what he wanted in the attack, he was impressive in the defense. There were games where he was praised by not only his team-mates, but all rivals, and there were also games in which he made Michael Jordan go crazy.
When he finally got a chance in New Jersey, he scored an average of 24.3 points per game, which placed him in the 20th place in the strongest league in the world.
Drazen Petrovic could do everything in basketball, even to score 112 points in one game. He gave basketball everything, but he also denied basketball for his best days. When Petrović died, he was only 28 years old. He went, and, actually, he did not. The captions are eternal.
Steve Nash – Career Stats Of An MVP
Every NBA fans will tell you that the best Canadian player in the history of the NBA is Steve Nash, that’s for sure! He was chosen twice to the MVP, and he did it two years in a row: 2005-2006. Nash was also a great team player, as he was chosen 5 times to be the top assists leader. But, the biggest disappointment and tragedy of his career is that he never won a championship ring as a player. For a player that played in the NBA for 18 seasons and had such an amazing record, it’s not less of a tragedy. However, he did get a ring of honor from the Phoenix Suns. Nash played for the Pheonix Suns in two periods. The first was from 1996 to 1998. In fact, he was selected by the suns in the 1996 Draft in the first round. Later, on 2002, Nash came back to play for 8 seasons with the Suns. Between these periods he played for the Dallas Mavericks (1998-2004). Nash retired as a Lakers player in 2015 after 3 seasons in LA (2012-2015).
His Career stats are very impressive as well. In his 18 NBA seasons, he averaged 14.3 points, 8.5 assists (we already said he is a team player), 3.0 rebounds in 31.3 minutes per game. Overall he played 1217 NBA games in which he started in 1053 of them. You can understand from this stats how valuable he was for the eyes of his coaches.
As deserved for such a legend, Nash got his Phoenix Suns number 13 retired. Also, his college number (No. 11) is also retired by Santa Clara.