NBA enters new, global era
A RECORD 113 players from outside the United States were on NBA rosters as the league opened its 2016-17 season this week, with at least one international player on all 30 clubs.
The league detailed global talent hours before the opening tip-off of its 71st campaign in Cleveland, where the Cavaliers were set to raise the city’s first championship banner for any team since 1964.
In all, a record 41 nations are represented on NBA rosters as the league cracked the 100 international player mark for the third season in a row. There are 61 European players and 14 African players in the NBA.
The old mark for global players of 101 was set in the 2014-15 season, one more than last season. The old record of players from 39 nations was set in the 2013-14 campaign and was two above last season’s total.
Canada leads the way for the global contingent for the third consecutive campaign with 11 players, including Cleveland’s Tristan Thompson and Boston’s Kelly Olynyk.
France ranks second with 10 players, including San Antonio’s Tony Parker and Charlotte’s Nicolas Batum, while Brazil has nine, including Anderson Varejao of the Golden State Warriors and Nene of the Houston Rockets.
Australia has eight NBA players, including Andrew Bogut of Dallas, Patty Mills of San Antonio and Matthew Dellavedova of Milwaukee.
The Utah Jazz lead the NBA with seven international players, including Frenchmen Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert and Aussies Joe Ingles and Dante Exum, while the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors each feature six.
Among NBA global newcomers is Croatia’s Dragan Bender, the NBA Draft’s number-four pick.
Number-nine pick Jakob Poeltl is the first Austrian player in NBA history, while South Sudan’s Thon Maker was chosen 10th overall. –