Prior to the 1992 Summer Olympics, professional basketball players in the United States did not participate in the games with collegiate players representing the U.S. instead. The 1992 Olympics saw that change when the U.S. team formed what is now famously known as the “Dream Team.” A team featuring 11 Hall of Famers including Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson, the Dream Team dominated the Olympic Games on their way to the gold medal winning each game by an average of 44 points. The Dream Team is credited with creating a global interest in the sport of basketball which in turn led to more international players pursuing an NBA career.
Every year, the NBA becomes more diverse with new players from different countries playing in the NBA. In turn, the NBA history books continues to expand with international players breaking barriers accomplishing new feats each year. The 2014 San Antonio Spurs began the season with an NBA record 10 international players on their roster and would go on to win the NBA championship with eight international players on their playoff roster. In the 2019 NBA Draft, a new milestone was reached when with the ninth overall pick the Washington Wizards drafted Rui Hachimura a power forward out of Gonzaga by way of Japan. He is not only the first ever Japanese born draft pick, he is also the first Japanese born lottery pick in the NBA.
With all the great international players the NBA has seen, one could only imagine what a team of the NBA’s greatest international players would look like. However, if we’re going to do this, there is only one rule that a player needs to qualify for this team. Players can not just be born in a country outside the United States they must also have their citizenship in said country. This disqualifies Dominique Wilkins (France), Kyrie Irving (Australia) nor Tim Duncan (U.S. Virgin Islands) will be featured on this team as they do not have citizenships in the country they were born.
With that out of the way, here is the NBA All-International Team!
PG: Steve Nash- Canada
Career Stats: 14.3 PPG, 8.5 APG, 3.0 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Steve Nash is arguably one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. In his 18-year career, Nash won two NBA MVPs, made eight All-Star appearances, seven All-NBA appearances, and led the league in assists five times. While Nash is rightfully praised for his passing ability, one aspect of his game that is underrated is his shooting. He is a four-time member of the 50-40-90 club (50% from the field, 40% from 3-point range and 90% from the free throw line) one of only two players to ever do it at least two times.
SG: Manu Ginobili- Argentina
Career Stats: 13.3 PPG, 3.8 APG, 3.5 RPG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Prior to playing in the NBA, Manu Ginobili had a storied career overseas winning championships and MVPs in the Euroleague and Italian League. He made an immediate impact once he joined the NBA ranks helping the San Antonio Spurs win their second championship in just his first season. Ginobili went on to play 16 seasons in the NBA all with the San Antonio Spurs making five NBA Finals appearances and winning four championships. He also made two All-Star appearances, two All-NBA appearances, and won the Sixth Man of the Year award in the 2007-2008 season.
SF: Giannis Antetokounmpo- Greece
Career Stats (so far): 20.7 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 4.5 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.3 BPG
It’s amazing to see how much Giannis Antetokounmpo has accomplished in his career at just 26-years-old knowing he has so many great years ahead of him. In just eight seasons in the NBA, Giannis has already won two MVPs, a Defensive Player of the Year, has made five All-Star appearances, four All-NBA appearances and three All-Defensive appearances. In each of his last four seasons (this current season included), Giannis has stuffed the stat sheet averaging 28.0 points, 11.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.3 blocks.
PF: Dirk Nowitzki- Germany
Career Stats: 20.7 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG
When having a discussion about players that revolutionized how the game of basketball is played, Dirk Nowitzki rightfully deserves to be brought up in that conversation. Whether or not he was the first stretch four to exist in the NBA, he sure did perfect that style of play with his patented one-legged stepback jumpshot making him virtually unguardable. Dirk played 21 seasons in the NBA all with the Dallas Mavericks leading them to their only NBA championship in franchise history in 2011. In addition, he made 14 All-Star appearances and 12 All-NBA appearances.
C: Hakeem Olajuwon- Nigeria
Hakeem Olajuwon Career Stats: 21.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.7 SPG, 3.1 BPG
Hakeem Olajuwon is not only considered to be one of the greatest centers in NBA history, but he is highly regarded as one of the greatest two-way players in NBA history. Hakeem played 18 years in the NBA playing all but one year with the Houston Rockets. He led the Rockets to two NBA championships back-to-back in 1994 and 1995. In addition, Olajuwon won the NBA MVP in 1994, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, made 12 All-Star selections, 12 All-NBA appearances, and nine All-Defensive appearances. He is the only player that ranks in the top 10 for career steals and blocks ranking ninth in steals and is the leader in career blocks.
Tony Parker- France
Tony Parker Career Stats: 15.5 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 5.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.1 BPG
Like Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker also won four NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs. Tony Parker played 18 seasons in the NBA with all but one being spent with the Spurs. He made six All-Star appearances, four All-NBA appearances and won the 2007 NBA Finals MVP. He finished his playoff career ranking fifth overall in total assists (1,143) and sixth in games played (226).
Luka Doncic Career Stats (So Far): 25.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 7.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.4 BPG
Luka Doncic has only been in the NBA for three years but in that short time, he has taken the NBA by storm. He has averaged over 20 points per game in each of his first three seasons so far including averaging over 28 points in the past two seasons. Luka has recorded 34 triple-doubles in his career already good for 11th most in NBA history. Luka has been named an All-Star in each of the last two seasons. He made his first All-NBA team in his last season and is sure to be an All-NBA selection this season.
Ben Simmons- Australia
Ben Simmons Career Stats (So Far): 16.0 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 7.8 APG, 1.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG
After having his rookie season terminated due to a season-ending injury, Ben Simmons has come in to the NBA establishing himself as an elite player in the league. In his four NBA seasons so far, Simmons has made three All-Star appearances averaging 16.3 points, 8.2 rebounds 7.9 assists and 1.7 steals. He has helped the Philadelphia 76ers go from a perennial laughing stock to a perennial contender in the Eastern Conference as they have made the playoffs each season and got past the first round twice. The only knock on Ben Simmons’ is he is not a very good shooter and even that hasn’t stopped him from taking the NBA by storm.
Pau Gasol- Spain
Pau Gasol Career Stats: 17.0 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.5 SPG, 1.6 BPG
Pau Gasol is one of the most underrated players in NBA history. He led a Memphis Grizzlies that had never had a winning season to the playoffs three times including their first 50-win season. He helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to two NBA championships alongside Kobe Bryant. In his 18-year NBA career, he only missed the playoffs five times. In addition, he made six All-Star appearances and four All-NBA teams.
Nikola Jokic- Serbia
Nikola Jokic Career Stats (So Far): 18.3 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 5.9 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.7 BPG
In just six seasons in the NBA, Nikola Jokic may have already established himself as the best passing center in NBA history. He has averaged 18.0 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists so far in his career. In the past four seasons (including this season), Jokic is averaging 20.7 points, 10.5 rebounds and 7.1 assists. This season, he ranks in the top 10 in point, rebound and assist average which would make him the first to ever do so if he keeps this up. He has recorded 53 triple-doubles and counting so far in his career. In addition, he has made three All-Star appearances and two All-NBA teams.
Patrick Ewing- Jamaica
Patrick Ewing Career Stats: 21.0 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.0 SPG, 2.4 BPG
Patrick Ewing was born in Kingston, Jamaica where he would grow up until the age of 12 when he came to the United States with his family in Massachusetts. After leading the Georgetown Hoyas to back-to-back national championship games winning in his junior year, he was selected number one overall in the 1985 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks. Ewing went on to spend 15 seasons with the Knicks where he led them to the playoffs in all but two seasons and made two NBA Finals appearances. He was selected to 11 All-Star Games, seven All-NBA teams and three All-Defensive teams.
Joel Embiid- Cameroon
Joel Embiid Career Stats (So Far): 24.9 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 3.1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.7 BPG
Even with injuries ravishing his career in the NBA most notably forcing him to miss the first two seasons of his career, Joel Embiid has shown he is arguably the top big man in the NBA today. So far, he holds career averages of 24.7 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.7 blocks. He has made the All-Star Game each of the past four seasons, has been named to two All-NBA teams and two All-Defensive. Before an injury forced him out this season, Joel Embiid was arguably leading the MVP discussion averaging a career-high 29.9 points along with 11.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists.