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7.6k voters

The Best Foreign NBA Players of All Time

Updated May 2, 2020 62.1k votes 7.6k voters 82.1k views107 items

List RulesOnly 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. 

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  • Dražen Petrović1
    1,733
    472

    AgeDec. at 29 (1964-1993)

    BirthplaceCroatia

    TeamsPortland Trail Blazers, Brooklyn Nets

  • Hakeem Olajuwon2
    2,183
    1,440

    Age57

    BirthplaceAfrica

    TeamsHouston Rockets, Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors

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  • Toni Kukoč3
    1,118
    464

    Age52

    BirthplaceCroatia

    TeamsChicago Bulls, Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, Atlanta Hawks, Milwaukee Bucks

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo4
    1,715
    735

    Age26

    BirthplaceAthens, Greece

    TeamsMilwaukee Bucks

  • Dirk Nowitzki5
    2,353
    1,596

    Age42

    BirthplaceGermany

    TeamsDallas Mavericks, Dallas Mavericks

  • Patrick Ewing6
    1,051
    694

    Age58

    BirthplaceJamaica

    TeamsNew York Knicks, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Orlando Magic, Seattle Supersonics

  • Dikembe Mutombo7
    886
    606

    Dikembe Mutombo

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

    Age54

    BirthplaceAfrica

    TeamsNew York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia 76ers

  • Arvydas Sabonis8
    699
    482

    Age56

    BirthplaceEurope

    TeamsPortland Trail Blazers, Portland Trail Blazers

  • Kristaps Porzingis9
    642
    215

    Kristaps Porzingis

    Latvia
  • Yao Ming10
    1,032
    734

    Age40

    BirthplaceChina

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

  • Marc Gasol11
    726
    510

    Marc Gasol

    Spanish

    Age35

    BirthplaceSpain

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers

  • Steve Nash12
    1,401
    1,038

    Steve Nash

    Canada, England

    Age46

    BirthplaceSouth Africa

    TeamsLos Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Phoenix Suns

  • Manute Bol13
    355
    201

    AgeDec. at 48 (1962-2010)

    BirthplaceSouth Africa

    TeamsMiami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers, Washington Wizards

  • Al Horford14
    496
    338

    Al Horford

    Dominican Republic

    Age34

    BirthplaceDominican Republic

    TeamsPhiladelphia 76ers

  • Steven Adams15
    376
    202

    Steven Adams

    New Zealand

    Age27

    BirthplaceRotorua, New Zealand

    TeamsOklahoma City Thunder

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  • Nikola Jokić16
    701
    297

    Nikola Jokić

    Serbian

    Age21

    BirthplaceSombor, FR Yugoslavia

    TeamsDenver Nuggets

  • Manu Ginóbili17
    1,533
    1,206

    Age43

    BirthplaceSouth America

    TeamsSan Antonio Spurs

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  • Tony Parker18
    1,051
    818

    Age38

    BirthplaceFrance

    TeamsSan Antonio Spurs

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    #8 of 146 The Best European NBA Players of All Time#21 of 150 The Greatest Point Guards in NBA History

  • Pau Gasol19
    1,105
    866

    Age40

    BirthplaceEurope

    TeamsPortland Trail Blazers

  • Patty Mills20
    280
    172

    Patty Mills

    Australia

    Age32

    BirthplaceAustralia

    TeamsSan Antonio Spurs

  • Joel Embiid21
    501
    61

    Joel Embiid

    Cameroon

    Age21

    TeamsPhiladelphia 76ers

  • Peja Stojaković22
    755
    583

    Age43

    BirthplaceSerbia

    TeamsDallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings

  • Kyrie Irving23
    418
    75

    Kyrie Irving

    Australia

    Age28

    BirthplaceMelbourne, Australia

    TeamsBrooklyn Nets

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  • Detlef Schrempf24
    364
    264

    Age57

    BirthplaceGermany

    TeamsPortland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Indiana Pacers, Seattle Supersonics

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    #62 of 161 The Best NBA Players With No Championship Rings#146 of 786 The Top NBA Players Of All Time

  • Ben Simmons25
    339
    52

    Ben Simmons

    Australia