All-Foreign NBA Team
Meet the All-Foreign NBA Team. The team includes a starting five, two reserve guards, two reserve forwards, and two reserve centers.
NOTE: Players who were born outside of the United States but were drafted from a U.S. college are not eligible to be on this team.
Compiled by Doric Sam
STEVE NASH, Point Guard
Phoenix Suns (1996-98, 2004-present), Dallas Mavericks (1998-2004)
14.6 PPG, 3 RPG, 8.5 APG
Hailing from north of the border, “Hair Canada” first burst on to the scene with the Dallas Mavericks. But it was his second stint in Phoenix that gained him the recognition he deserved. He led the NBA in assists during both the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons on his way to winning back-to-back MVP awards. He is a master of the run-and-gun offense, dazzling fans with pin-point passes. He is also a terrific shooter, averaging 49 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free-throw line for his career.
DRAZEN PETROVIC, Shooting Guard
Portland Trail Blazers (1989-91), New Jersey Nets (1991-93)
15.4 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.4 APG
Petrovic initially became a star in Europe before joining the NBA in 1989, earning six European Player of the Year awards. His career in America began with the Portland Trail Blazers, where lack of playing time hindered his performance and eventually forced him to request a trade. His wish was granted in 1991 when he was traded to the New Jersey Nets and he immediately blossomed into one of the best shooting guards in the league, averaging more than 20 points per game in his frist two full seasons with the team. In the summer of 1993, Petro’s career and life were cut short by a fatal car accident in Germany when he was only 28. He was posthumously enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
TONI KUKOC, Small Forward
Chicago Bulls (1993-2000), Philadelphia 76ers (2000-01), Atlanta Hawks (2001-02), Milwaukee Bucks (2003-06)
11.6 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 3.7 APG
Thanks to some huge playoff runs and his exceptional versatility, Kukoc is our second Croatian in the starting five. This sharpshooter was a nightmare for opposing defenders as he played multiple positions and demonstrated excellent court vision. His passing ability and shooting touch were rarely found in players of his height (6’11”). He was a key in Chicago’s last three-peat, coming off the bench and ranking third on the team in scoring behind Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. He also played for Philadelphia and Milwaukee before retiring in 2006.
DIRK NOWITZKI, Power Forward
Dallas Mavericks (1998-present)
22.9 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 2.7 APG
Arguably the greatest European ever to play in the NBA, Nowitzki solidified his legacy in 2011 by leading the Mavericks to their first championship. He is considered the best jump-shooting power forward ever to play the game, with his trademark fadeaway almost impossible to defend. He has led Dallas to 11 consecutive playoff appearances since 2000, and he is also the first European-born player in NBA history to win the MVP (2007). Nowitzki’s playoff run in 2011 also added the “clutch” factor to his resume — he scored 62 points in six fourth quarters during the NBA Finals.
YAO MING, Center
Houston Rockets (2002-present)
19 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 1.6 APG
When healthy, Yao was one of the most dominant players in the league. At 7-foot-6, he caught the eye of Americans in the early 2000s and was drafted first overall by the Rockets in 2002. His career began as an experiment, but he developed into a force. He averaged more than 20 points and nine rebounds for three straight seasons from 2005-08. He has been hampered by a foot injury for the past few years and has only played more than 70 games once in the past five seasons.
TONY PARKER, Point Guard
San Antonio Spurs (2001-present)
16.7 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.7 APG
Parker is one of the cornerstones of the Spurs’ dynasty, helping lead them to NBA titles in 2003, 2005, and 2007, when he was the Finals MVP. He was drafted by San Antonio 28th overall and quickly became the team’s starting point guard. He was one of the quickest guards in the league, usually getting to the basket with ease and consistently posting a high field-goal percentage.
MANU GINOBILI, Shooting Guard
San Antonio Spurs (2002-present)
15.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 3.9 APG
Ginobili has been another key player in San Antonio’s championship runs. Drafted 57th overall in 1999, he is considered one of the biggest draft steals ever. He joined the team in 2002 and quickly established himself as a key player in Gregg Popovich’s offense. His best years were spent as a sixth man, winning that award in 2008. He is one of only two players, along with Bill Bradley, to have won a Euroleague title, an NBA championship, and an Olympic gold medal.
PEJA STOJAKOVIC, Small Forward
Sacramento Kings (1998-2006), Indiana Pacers (2006), New Orleans Hornets (2006-10), Toronto Raptors (2010-11), Dallas Mavericks (2011-present)
17 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 1.8 APG
Stojakovic is known mainly for his time with the Sacramento Kings, where he became one of the most proficient three-point shooters in the league. He won the All-Star Weekend Three-Point Shootout twice, becoming the first European-born player to win an all-star competition. He finished second in the league in scoring during the 2003-04 season, averaging a career-high 24.2 points per game while shooting 43 percent from beyond the arc.
PAU GASOL, Power Forward
Memphis Grizzlies (2001-08), Los Angeles Lakers (2008-present)
18.8 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 3.2 APG
Gasol came from Spain in 2002 and immediately made an impact, winning the Rookie of the Year award.After setting almost every major franchise record in seven seasons with Memphis, Gasol was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2008. He helped lead L.A. to back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010. His younger brother, Marc, is also in the NBA, playing with the Grizzlies.
ARVYDAS SABONIS, Center
Portland Trail Blazers (1995-2001, 2002-03)
12 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.1 APG
Many wonder how good Sabonis could have been had he played in the NBA during his prime. He was almost 31 when he joined the Blazers in 1995, by which time he had already won multiple gold medals but also suffered numerous injuries and lost most of his mobility and athleticism. NBA fans will mostly remember him as a slow, tired man lumbering up and down the court. But European fans and NBA enthusiasts know he is one of the greatest centers in the history of the game, and that’s why he deserves a spot on this team. He also was named European Player of the Year eight times.
VLADE DIVAC, Center
Los Angeles Lakers (1989-96, 2004-05), Charlotte Hornets (1996-98), Sacramento Kings (1999-2004)
11.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 3.1 APG
Divac was known for his exceptional passing skills as well as his exceptional flopping ability. Still, he is one of the best European big men to play in the NBA. Divac is one of only six players in NBA history to record at least 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists and 1,500 blocks.