10 Countries Outside US That Have Produced Most NBA Players
The United States has always been the biggest producer of talent in the NBA. In fact, the greatest players such as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and many more have been dominating the game for quite some time.
However, with the globalization of the NBA, it is no longer surprising that the rest of the world is closing the gap. In fact, over the past four seasons, we’ve had four consecutive MVPs from Europe in the form of Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo and Serbia’s Nikola Jokic.
While the United States is arguably still the best country in basketball, it’s worth considering how far other countries have advanced in producing NBA talent. For this article, let’s take a closer look at 10 countries outside the United States that have produced the most NBA players.
The Greeks rose to prominence in basketball when they shocked the world by beating Team USA to advance to the gold medal game at the 2006 FIBA World Championships. However, fast forwarding to today, we all know Giannis Antetokounmpo is taking over the NBA after winning two MVPs, an NBA Championship, and a Finals MVP. His brother, Thanasis is also an NBA champion.
Besides the Antetokounmpo brothers, some notable players include Vassilis Spanoulis, former Kings big man George Papagiannis and Tyler Dorsey.
9. Puerto Rico
Unlike Greece, Puerto Rico has yet to produce a notable NBA star. However, they have produced quite a few NBA talents. Some household names include former Mavs guard JJ Barea, Carlos Arroyo, first-round pick Mo Harkless and Renaldo Balkman.
Currently, Jose Alvarado is Puerto Rico’s only active NBA player. Alvarado set the franchise record for the New Orleans Pelicans for most points off the bench with 38.
Spain has always been a power on the international scene. While they often display a good basketball system, they have also consistently produced plenty of NBA-level talent. As we know they produced some of the best big men in the NBA such as the Gasol brothers, Serge Ibaka and many more. Other household names include Jose Calderon, Rudy Fernandez and naturalized guard Lorenzo Brown.
They also currently have six active NBA players.
Even back then, Croatia had already produced plenty of NBA talent. But even after Croatia split from Yugoslavia, they held their own by producing knockdown shooters Toni Kukoc and Drazen Petrovic.
Fast forward to today, they continue to make their presence felt. Zubac had a record 31 points and 29 rebounds in a game against the Pacers. On the other hand, Bogdanovic continues to turn off the lights of the Association.
The rise of the Germans in basketball is due to none other than the best fourth in the game, Dirk Nowitzki. With Nowitzki revolutionizing the vanguard position, it helped usher in the modern era of NBA basketball.
Although Nowitzki retired, Germany continued to produce strong NBA talent such as Dennis Schroder and the Wagner brothers.
Serbia made their presence felt on the NBA scene thanks to the fine play of back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic. Jokic has materialized what a skilled cross looks like, as he has lost triple double after triple double since joining the Association
Although Jokic played a big role in Serbia’s basketball relevance, the country also produced some notable talents during the era. Some household names include Hall of Famer Vlade Divac, NBA champion Peja Stojakovic and former Pistons lottery pick Darko Milicic.
At the time, Australia was not known for producing notable NBA talent. They’ve produced the likes of Luc Longley, Shane Heal, Andrew Gaze and first-round pick Andrew Bogut. However, it has only been in recent years that they have started producing top prospects such as Ben Simmons and Josh Giddey.
As European nations and Australia make waves in the basketball world, Nigeria’s African powerhouse should also deserve some credit. With a total of 35 NBA players and 10 of them still active, Nigeria has no shortage of talent.
In fact, the nation was responsible for giving us Hall of Famer and two-time NBA champion Hakeem Olajuwon.
Besides Spain and Serbia, France has also been a fixture in world basketball. For this reason, it’s no surprise that they produced one of Europe’s greatest basketball players of all time in Tony Parker. Besides Parker, other notable players from France include champion Boris Diaw, two-time All-Star Joakim Noah, Ronny Turiaf, Ian Mahinmi and many more.
While Rudy Gobert is arguably the best French player in the NBA today, France will also be releasing potential lottery pick Victor Webanyama in the near future.
Although basketball originated in the United States, it was still Canadian Dr. James Naismith who invented the sport. For this reason, it’s no surprise that Canada is the top NBA lead-producing country in the world outside of the United States.
Some of the best players today are Canadians. These include Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, NBA champion Andrew Wiggins, Chris Boucher, RJ Barrett and Jamal Murray. The nation also produced a Hall of Famer in Steve Nash.
For this reason, it will come as no surprise if Canada continues to produce more top NBA talent.