As the times changed, the number of European players playing in the NBA increased, and the number of MVPs also increased. Considering that the players who won the regular season MVP in the previous four seasons were all European players, the influence of European players in the NBA is considerable. Who are the best NBA leaguers of all time by European country?
*This article was published in the January issue of Rookie.
Dirk Nowitzki (Germany) Nowitzki,
a retired German soldier, is an NBA leaguer representing Germany. Nowitzki, who came to the United States in the 1998-1999 season, is the club’s best legend who spent 21 seasons with only one team in Dallas. Dallas, which fell into a slump, leaped to the top with Nowitzki’s growth, and had the best recovery period of the club, winning two conference championships and one final championship.
The individual achievements were also great. Nowitzki, who has 1 regular season MVP, 1 Finals MVP, 14 All-Stars and 12 All-NBA Team selections, recorded 20.7 points and 7.5 rebounds for his career. Nowitzki is the only player in NBA history to record 30,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, 1,000 steals, and 1,000 blocked shots.
The most memorable moment in Nowitzki’s career was, of course, winning the 2011 Finals. Nowitzki, who was gradually heading to the old age, burned his fighting spirit against Miami, where the big 3 leading to LeBron James-Dwayne Wade-Chris Bosh endured, and eventually won the first championship of his career. The one-club man Nowitzki’s winning story is still talked about by many NBA fans.
The German national team also had its glory days under Nowitzki. Nowitzki swept the top scorer and MVP in both the 2002 FIBA World Cup and the 2005 EuroBasket, putting Germany in 3rd and 2nd, respectively, the highest ever.
Luka Doncic (Slovenia)
If Nowitzki was a Dallas player who won the MVP in the past, Doncic is the current NBA superstar who is expected to win the MVP in the future. At the same time, he can be considered the best player in Slovenian history.
Doncic participated in the 2017 EuroBasket even at a young age and contributed to Slovenia’s first win. Later, in 1991, he guided Slovenia to its first Olympic Games since independence. Although he was defeated by France in the semifinals and finished his gold medal challenge, Doncic’s performance was overwhelming.
Doncic, who landed in the NBA with the 2018 draft, the golden draft, won the Rookie of the Year title in his debut season, and then put on a monstrous performance to be named to the All-NBA First Team for three consecutive years. Because of his excellent performance, he is most often pointed out as the best talent to lead the NBA in the future, even though he is not an American player.
Last season, it was Doncic who took Dallas to the Conference Finals for the first time since the Nowitzki era. Can Doncic, who is aspiring to win the Finals, add a championship ring and an MVP trophy for the rest of his career?
Tony Parker (France)
Point guard Parker, who led San Antonio’s long golden era, is the best NBA leaguer ever in France. Parker, who spent his final season with Charlotte after 17 seasons with San Antonio, has been designated as the Spurs’ number 9 jersey.
One of Parker’s greatest footprints in the NBA is being the first ever European Finals MVP. LeBron James’ 2007 Finals against Cleveland. Parker scored an average of 24.5 points in the series and played a big role in helping the team win the sweep.
Parker, who was also on the French national team, presented the first EuroBasket championship trophy to France in 2013. Parker, who became the top scorer of the tournament, completely broke Lithuania’s momentum by performing with a perfect score in the final.
Pau Gasol (Spain)
The greatest NBA leaguer of all time in Spain is Pau Gasol. Gasol, who played the NBA as a European big man representing the 2000s with Nowitzki, also won the championship ring during the LA Lakers days paired with Kobe Bryant.
Gasol’s history on the national team stage is perhaps even greater than his NBA performance. He contributed to the best period in Spain’s history, winning two Olympic silver medals, three EuroBasket gold medals and one World Championship gold medal for Spain.
Pau’s younger brother, Marc Gasol, also left great achievements across the NBA and national team. Mark, who played as Memphis’ big man, experienced a dream finals victory in Toronto at the end of his NBA career, and returned to Spain to continue his playing career. 스포츠토토
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece) Giannis Antetokounmpo,
a refugee who sold watches and glasses on the street. But after he started playing basketball, his life changed completely. Adetokounmpo, who was nominated by Milwaukee in the 2013 draft, gradually expanded his influence and vomited the spirit of winning the regular season MVP for two consecutive years. In the 2021 Finals, he enjoyed the championship and threw away the stigma of being a player for the regular season.
Antetokounmpo has already won more MVP awards than Nowitzki, and even won the finals he dreamed of. If he continues his career at this pace, Antetokounmpo may take over Nowitzki as the best European player. Of course, he also has to win the competition against the formidable opponent, Nikola Jokic.
What Antetokounmpo lacks is performance in the Greek national team uniform. Even with the appearance of an all-time great player named Antetokounmpo, Greece has not left a significant mark on the international stage. The 2022 EuroBasket was also eliminated in the quarterfinals. In other words, Antetokounmpo’s brilliant performance is not leading Greece to take off.
Nikola Jokic (Serbia) Serbia,
a basketball powerhouse in Eastern Europe, is a country that has produced many excellent big men. Among them, the player who shines the most is Nikola Jokichi, who is currently playing for Denver. Jokic is the first case in the NBA where a player from the second round won the back-to-back MVP.
Jokic, from the 41st rank in the second round, did not attract much attention from the beginning of his joining. He’s not very athletic, nor does he enjoy attention compared to other superstars.
However, Jokic became Denver’s super ace with the best BQ, wide field of vision, passing that saved teammates, and smooth movement under the goal. Last season, the team without 2 option Jamal Murray and 3 option Michael Porter Jr. was literally hard carried and put it in the playoffs, and as a result, we were able to win the regular season MVP for 2 consecutive years.
Drazen Petrović (Croatia)
The United States, which built the greatest dream team ever for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. The team that faced the United States in the final was Croatia. And the most brilliant player in Croatia at the time was Petrovic with 24 points. Petrovic, who had an excellent three-point shot, averaged 22.3 points and a 3-point success rate of 44.9% in the 1992-1993 season and was named to the All-NBA Third Team.
However, Petrovic’s basketball career came to an early end unfortunately. At the height of his career, Petrovic died in a car accident in the summer of 1993. The New Jersey Nets (currently the Brooklyn Nets) retired Petrovic’s number 3 uniform to honor his achievements.
Avidas Sabonis, Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania)
Sabonis, who was considered one of the best centers in his heyday, won a gold medal for Lithuania over the United States at the 1988 Seoul Olympics held in Korea. Unfortunately, when he was in his 30s and stepped on the NBA stage, his career was at a point where his career was broken due to injury, but he left a strong impression based on his passing sense and shooting ability even in an abnormal physical condition.
In time, Domantas Sabonis, inheriting his father’s talent, made his appearance on the NBA stage. Unlike his father, Sabonis, who started playing in the NBA from an early age, has established himself as a reliable big man responsible for a team’s goal. He is Domantas, who is averaging 18.0 points, 12.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists this season, showing a sample of a versatile big man.
Who is the best player in Asia, Africa and South America?
The best Asian player in NBA history is Yao Ming (China), who was drafted first overall in the 2002 draft. The 227.3cm giant Yao Ming had a rather short NBA career due to injury, but he is an 8-time All-Star and 5-time All-NBA team player. It seems difficult for Asian players to follow in his footsteps in the future.
South America’s best star is Manu Ginobili (Argentina). Ginobili, who is synonymous with the best sixth man, played a big 3-class role in San Antonio even though he started the game from the bench, and saved the team countless times based on his strong heart. Not only that, he also won the gold medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics by defeating the United States of America in the Argentina national team.
The best in Africa is Hakim Olajuwon (Nigeria). Olajuwon, one of the four centers that dominated the 1990s, is a legend center known for his elegant moves that strip the defense. What was great about Olajuwon was that he stood out more on defense than on offense. He is regarded as one of the best defenders not only in the big man position but also among all NBA players.