While it may be convenient for basketball fans to blame the current flopping epidemic on the mass influx of foreign players (looking at you, Manu Ginobili and Vlade Divac), it’s equally true that the huge numbers of foreign-born players now in the NBA have given the sport some of its biggest stars. Whether they were born abroad and came to the United States as young men or if they spent the majority of their professional careers overseas before arriving in the NBA, international players have become commonplace across the league. On opening night this past season, there were 84 players from 37 countries spread across 29 of the 30 NBA rosters. Many forget this, but even today’s birthday boy Patrick Ewing can be counted among this international brethren; the Knicks’ legend was born and lived in Jamaica through his 12th birthday before coming to the United States.
Like Ewing, many of these non-domestic players accomplished tremendous things during their NBA careers. From pioneers like Drazen Petrovic to modern stars like Dirk Nowitzki, these are the 20 Best Foreign-Born Players in NBA History.
Players born in U.S. territories such as the Virgin Islands were left off the list since they were not technically foreign-born. Sorry, Timmy fans.