Sports

The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time 

Ranker Community
Originally by Ranker Community
Updated May 2, 2020 53.9k votes 6.3k voters 78.9k views 107 items

List Rules Only professional NBA basketball players who were not born in the US

Since the late '80s, the NBA has imported the best players from across the globe to play basketball in America. Initially these players made little impact on the game, but over time, some of the best players in the world are from abroad. Many European players have flourished in the NBA, with Dirk Nowitzki being the most prominent. Winning the league's MVP award in 2007, Nowitzki led the Dallas Mavericks to the 2011 NBA championship over the favored Miami Heat. The German forward is easily the most recognizable name to come from Europe, but he's certainly not the only star. Nowitzki's former teammate Steve Nash is another former MVP (in fact a two-time winner) who is from abroad. Born in South Africa and raised in Canada, Nash has been dazzling NBA arenas for nearly two decades.

Both Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have been a vital cogs in the San Antonio Spurs system since joining the team. The France-born Parker has established himself as one of the best point guards in the game, while the Argentinian-born Ginobili is an integral player off the bench on a team that has won three championships since the duo has been in San Antonio.

While a lot of the players on this list aren't household names outside of the NBA community, they are the best current and former international players in the league. This is your chance to pick who is the best foreign NBA player of all time. 

list ordered by
1
Dirk Nowitzki is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
Germany

Age: 41

Birthplace: Germany

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Mavericks

More Dirk Nowitzki 

#95 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #29 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #13 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

2
Hakeem Olajuwon is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
earlthegoose added Nigeria

Age: 56

Birthplace: Africa

Teams: Houston Rockets, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

More Hakeem Olajuwon 

#1,172 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #1 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #240 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

3
Steve Nash is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
Canada, England

Age: 45

Birthplace: South Africa

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Suns

More Steve Nash 

#386 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #24 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #6 of 243 The Best White Players in NBA History

4
Manu Ginóbili is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
5
Patrick Ewing is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
earlthegoose added Jamaica

Age: 57

Birthplace: Jamaica

Teams: New York Knicks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics, + more

More Patrick Ewing 

#2,172 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #8 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #27 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

6
Giannis Antetokounmpo is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
NikosPanou added Greece

Age: 25

Birthplace: Athens, Greece

Teams: Milwaukee Bucks

More Giannis Antetokounmpo 

#1,734 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #134 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #46 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

7
Yao Ming is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
wiabux added China

Age: 39

Birthplace: China

Teams: Houston Rockets, Houston Rockets, China men's national basketball team, Shanghai Sharks

More Yao Ming 

#10 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #65 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #16 of 55 The Best No. 1 Overall NBA Draft Picks of All Time, Ranked

8
Pau Gasol is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
Spain

Age: 39

Birthplace: Europe

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers

More Pau Gasol 

#20 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #71 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #12 of 243 The Best White Players in NBA History

9
Dikembe Mutombo is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
poroporo20 added Democratic Republic of the Congo

Age: 53

Birthplace: Africa

Teams: New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia 76ers, + more

More Dikembe Mutombo 

#13 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #53 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #4 of 22 The Greatest Georgetown Basketball Players of All Time

10
Tony Parker is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
France

Age: 37

Birthplace: France

Teams: San Antonio Spurs

More Tony Parker 

#58 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #20 of 162 The Greatest Point Guards in NBA History #7 of 136 The Best European NBA Players of All Time

11
Arvydas Sabonis is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
wiabux added Lithuania

Age: 55

Birthplace: Europe

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers, Portland Trail Blazers

More Arvydas Sabonis 

#23 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #132 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #25 of 243 The Best White Players in NBA History

12
Peja Stojaković is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
wiabux added Serbia

Age: 42

Birthplace: Serbia

Teams: Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings

More Peja Stojaković 

#100 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #16 of 243 The Best White Players in NBA History #25 of 137 The Best Small Forwards of All Time

13
Dražen Petrović is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
wiabux added Croatia

Age: Dec. at 29 (1964-1993)

Birthplace: Croatia

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets

More Dražen Petrović 

#409 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #30 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History #129 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

14
Marc Gasol is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
Spain

Age: 34

Birthplace: Spain

Teams: Toronto Raptors

More Marc Gasol 

#30 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #133 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #23 of 243 The Best White Players in NBA History

15
Toni Kukoč is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
wiabux added Croatia

Age: 51

Birthplace: Croatia

Teams: Chicago Bulls, Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks

More Toni Kukoč 

#495 of 2,181 The Best Athletes Of All Time #123 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #27 of 243 The Best White Players in NBA History

16
Vlade Divac is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
Serbian

Age: 51

Birthplace: Serbia

Teams: Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets

More Vlade Divac 

#32 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #176 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #32 of 243 The Best White Players in NBA History

17
Kristaps Porzingis is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
kartivim2 added Kristaps Porzingis Latvia
18
Ranker Video
zepolian1 added Nikola Jokić Serbian

Age: 21

Birthplace: Sombor, FR Yugoslavia

Teams: Denver Nuggets

19
Al Horford is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
Dominican Republic

Age: 33

Birthplace: Dominican Republic

Teams: Philadelphia 76ers

More Al Horford 

#48 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #122 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #26 of 95 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today

20
Detlef Schrempf is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
Davy040 added Germany

Age: 56

Birthplace: Germany

Teams: Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Indiana Pacers, Seattle Supersonics

More Detlef Schrempf 

#162 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #37 of 243 The Best White Players in NBA History #31 of 137 The Best Small Forwards of All Time

21
Goran Dragić is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
22
Serge Ibaka is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
Congo

Age: 30

Birthplace: Africa

Teams: Toronto Raptors

More Serge Ibaka 

#63 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #340 of 343 The Most Obnoxious Athletes #187 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

23
Andrew Wiggins is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
marcosiahaan1 added Canada

Age: 24

Birthplace: Markham, Thornhill, Canada

Teams: Minnesota Timberwolves

More Andrew Wiggins 

#126 of 178 The Greatest Shooting Guards in NBA History #350 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #7 of 95 The Most Overrated Players In The NBA Today

24
Manute Bol is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time
Davy040 added Sudan

Age: Dec. at 48 (1962-2010)

Birthplace: South Africa

Teams: Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards

More Manute Bol 

#41 of 168 The Greatest NBA Centers of All Time #139 of 870 The Top NBA Players Of All Time #7 of 39 The Greatest African NBA Players of All Time

25
Andrei Kirilenko is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time