Foreign NBA Players

Featured Image by: Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

Written by Ben Pfeifer


A record 15 first round picks this draft were of foreign background. Players such as Ben Simmons (Australia), Dragan Bender (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Jamal Murray (Canada), and more. This influx of foreign talent is sure to pave a new path for talent outside of the United States.

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Hakeem Olajuwon (Gallo Images).

Plenty of talent has come from other countries: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, and NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon. But there has never been such a large flow of foreign players into the NBA as there is now.

Foreign players have the ability to stay overseas and develop their game and come when they want. They bring a unique and useful skillset due to the different brand of basketball played overseas. Teams are becoming much more aware of this, and taking advantage of this talent you couldn’t find in America.

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Australian-born Ben Simmons, who was taken first overall in the 2016 NBA Draft (Stacy Revere/Getty).

For example, Guerchon Yabussele. He is a French power forward who can shoot from beyond the arc and is very strong. He could develop into a Draymond Green type of player.

All of these foreign players are expanding the game of basketball into an international sport. The NBA is growing, and people from all over the world are idolizing NBA athletes. Soon, basketball could become the most popular sport in the world.

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Children playing basketball in Dharamsala, India (Gili Chupak).

And what about the Olympics? Year in and year out Team USA is the favorite to steamroll through international competition. But how long will it be until Spain or China is the Olympic favorite? We are entering a new era of basketball, an international one.

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