Lithuanian basketball star Sabonis is one of the best European players of all-time. First of all, he won the Eurostar six times and the Mr. Europa Award twice. Furthermore, Sabonis won a gold medal for the Soviet Union at the 1998 Olympic Games. He’d also win bronze with Lithuania following the break-up of the Communist Bloc.
Sabonis spent just seven seasons in the NBA but still managed to make an impact. He didn’t play in the US until he was 30, spending the entire time with the Portland Trail Blazers. Although he didn’t win any major awards in the United States, his overall career makes him worthy of a place on this list.
After 14 seasons in the NBA, Diaw finally walked away with his head held high. In 2006, he won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award. But he would go on to further success eight years later when he won the NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs. This makes him one of the few foreign players on this list to win a ring.
The power forward started off his career in his native France before the Atlanta Hawks drafted him. Furthermore, he has represented France on the international stage, winning the EuroBasket title in 2013. During his championship-winning year, he led the series in total assists and was second in rebounds.
Schrempf was the first of only two German players to ever reach the NBA Finals. Although he didn’t win, losing out to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, he was still a great player. In short, he lasted for 16 seasons in the league. Also, he gained a lot of individual recognition in the NBA and with West Germany.
The German starred for the Indiana Pacers, the Seattle SuperSonics, and the Portland Trail Blazers. He was also a three-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year. Schrempf represented his country at the Olympic games and the EuroBasket Championships.
The Cleveland Cavaliers point guard is definitely Australia’s most successful basketball star. Dellavedova has won a single NBA championship with the Cavaliers. He averaged 3.9 points a game and 2.8 assists during the team’s playoff run. This was a special team. It wasn’t all about LeBron James.
Now 29, Dellavedova still has a few years left at the top of the game. He comes from a family of athletes as his two sisters also play basketball in the United States. Some have described his style of play as ‘dirty,’ but his teammates – including James – have come to his defense.
This Congolese giant is not just a brilliant basketball player. He’s also an amazing humanitarian. Mutombo is one of the greatest defensive players of all-time. He won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award a crazy four times. Furthermore, he was also an eight-time All-Star and is now a Hall of Famer.
The second-most prolific shot blocker in NBA history, Mutombo was a three-time leader in this area. He averaged a double-double for most of his career and is 12th all-time in career double-doubles. Furthermore, he’s a great person. Mutombo has made massive efforts to reduce polio in the Congo.
This Barcelonian is a tremendous talent. A two-time NBA Championship winner with the LA Lakers, Gasol’s individual ability translated to massive success. He’s also a six-time NBA All-Star. This definitely makes him one of the most accomplished athletes on this list.
Gasol is also highly successful on the international stage. A two-time Olympic silver medalist with the Spanish national team, he’s one of his countries greatest sports stars. The Spaniard is one of just three foreign players to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Now 39, he’s currently playing for the Portland Trail Blazers.
China’s Ming is a legendary figure in his homeland and the NBA. He helped to break down cultural barriers between the US and the Middle Kingdom. After starring for the Shanghai Sharks, Ming moved to the NBA. The Houston Rockets drafted him and he stayed in Texas for the remainder of his playing career.
Ming’s record is extraordinary. He’s an eight-time All-Star and the only player from outside the United States to lead the league in All-Star votes. Ming is also massive. At the time of his final season, he was the tallest player in the NBA, standing 7′ 6″ tall. The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inducted him in 2016.
One of the best foreign players to play basketball, Olajuwon is also one of the most recognizable. Born in Nigeria, the former NBA star never even expected to play the sport. First of all, he played as a soccer goalkeeper in his hometown of Lagos. But he took to the court like a duck to water, spending 18 seasons in the NBA.
Olajuwon is a 12-time All-Star and a six-time All-NBA team pick. After Michael Jordan retired, ‘The Dream’ took advantage, winning back-to-back championships in 1994 and 1995. The Hall of Famer played in Houston for 17 seasons before moving to Toronto for a year. In short, he’s a true legend of the sport.
Nash is one of the best foreign-born players to play in the NBA and also to never win a championship. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nash had dual citizenship. Despite the empty space in his trophy cabinet, the Canadian was a phenomenal player. He lasted 19 years in the NBA, winning two MVP titles along the way.
The eight-time All-Star is one of the greatest point guards of all-time. His most successful period was with the Dallas Mavericks. However, he also played for the Phoenix Suns and the LA Lakers. He now works as a consultant for the Canadian national team and the Golden State Warriors.