The Globalisation Of The NBA


Brooklyn Nets kicked off the first global game of 2014 with a resounding 127-110 win over the Atlanta Hawks at London’s 02 Arena last Thursday.

Over the past 35 years the NBA have played 147 games globally, visiting 20 different countries including China, Germany, Italy and Russia amongst others.

Yet the globalisation of the NBA has extended far beyond bringing the game cross continent. 

A record-breaking 92 international players from 39 countries and territories feature on opening-night rosters for this season. The previous opening-night record was set in the 2010-11 season with 84 players from 38 countries and territories.  Twenty-seven of the 30 teams feature at least one international player.

The San Antonio Spurs break the record for the most international players on a team roster with 10; last season’s opening-night roster featured eight.  The Cleveland Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves follow with six international players each, and the Milwaukee Bucks have five.  Seven teams have four international players and seven teams have three such players.

Once again, France is the most represented country with nine players, and Canada follows with eight.  Australia and Spain each have five players on team rosters, with Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Russia, and Turkey each having four.  Four countries have their strongest representation ever – Australia (five), Israel (two), Italy (four), and Russia (four), with Macedonia making a first appearance on the list.


The San Antonio Spurs retain the title for the most internationally diverse team, with seven countries represented on their roster.

At the end of the 2012-13 regular season, the NBA featured 85 international players from 36 countries and territories on team rosters (both active and inactive).

To date only one Irish player has ever graced the NBA. Dublin born Pat Burke lined out for the Orlando Magic (2002-03) and Phoenix Suns (2005-07) throughout his career, spending large parts with European giants Panathinaikos and Real Madrid.

The following is a complete list of international players on 2013-14 NBA opening-night rosters (both active and inactive):

International Players on Opening-Night Rosters (92)
Country Birthplace Name Team
Argentina Carlos Delfino Milwaukee Bucks
Argentina Emanuel “Manu” Ginobili San Antonio Spurs
Argentina Pablo Prigoni New York Knicks
Argentina Luis Scola Indiana Pacers
Australia Aron Baynes San Antonio Spurs
Australia Andrew Bogut Golden State Warriors
Australia Matt Dellavedova Cleveland Cavaliers
Australia Kyrie Irving Cleveland Cavaliers
Australia Patty Mills San Antonio Spurs
Bosnia and Herzegovina Ognjen Kuzmic Golden State Warriors
Bosnia and Herzegovina Mirza Teletovic Brooklyn Nets
Brazil Vitor Faverani Boston Celtics
Brazil Tiago Splitter San Antonio Spurs
Brazil Anderson Varejao Cleveland Cavaliers
Brazil Nene Washington Wizards
Cameroon Luc Richard Mbah a Moute Sacramento Kings
Canada Joel Anthony Miami Heat
Canada Anthony Bennett Cleveland Cavaliers
Canada Cory Joseph San Antonio Spurs
Canada South Africa Steve Nash Los Angeles Lakers
Canada Andrew Nicholson Orlando Magic
Canada Kelly Olynyk Boston Celtics
Canada Robert Sacre Los Angeles Lakers
Canada Tristan Thompson Cleveland Cavaliers
Congo Serge Ibaka Oklahoma City Thunder
Czech Republic Jan Vesely Washington Wizards
Democratic Republic of the Congo Bismack Biyombo Charlotte Bobcats
Dominican Republic Francisco Garcia Houston Rockets
Dominican Republic Al Horford Atlanta Hawks
France Nicolas Batum Portland Trail Blazers
France Nando De Colo San Antonio Spurs
France Boris Diaw San Antonio Spurs
France Evan Fournier Denver Nuggets
France Rudy Gobert Utah Jazz
France Ian Mahinmi Indiana Pacers
France Erik Murphy Chicago Bulls
France Belgium Tony Parker San Antonio Spurs
France French Guiana Kevin Seraphin Washington Wizards
France Martinique Ronny Turiaf Minnesota Timberwolves
Georgia Zaza Pachulia Milwaukee Bucks
Georgia Tornike Shengelia Brooklyn Nets
Germany Elias Harris Los Angeles Lakers
Germany Dirk Nowitzki Dallas Mavericks
Germany Dennis Schroder Atlanta Hawks
Great Britain South Sudan Luol Deng Chicago Bulls
Great Britain Joel Freeland Portland Trail Blazers
Greece Giannis Antetokounmpo Milwaukee Bucks
Haiti Samuel Dalembert Dallas Mavericks
Israel Omri Casspi Houston Rockets
Israel Gal Mekel Dallas Mavericks
Italy Andrea Bargnani New York Knicks
Italy Marco Belinelli San Antonio Spurs
Italy Luigi Datome Detroit Pistons
Italy Danilo Gallinari Denver Nuggets
Latvia Andris Biedrins Utah Jazz
Lithuania Jonas Valanciunas Toronto Raptors
Lithunaia Donatas Motiejunas Houston Rockets
Macedonia Pero Antic Atlanta Hawks
Mexico Gustavo Ayon Atlanta Hawks
Montenegro Nikola Pekovic Minnesota Timberwolves
Montenegro Switzerland Nikola Vucevic Orlando Magic
New Zealand Steven Adams Oklahoma City Thunder
Nigeria Festus Ezeli Golden State Warriors
Poland Marcin Gortat Washington Wizards
Puerto Rico Jose Juan Barea Minnesota Timberwolves
Russia Sergey Karasev Cleveland Cavaliers
Russia Andrei Kirilenko Brooklyn Nets
Russia Timofey Mozgov Denver Nuggets
Russia Alexey Shved Minnesota Timberwolves
Senegal Gorgui Dieng Minnesota Timberwolves
Senegal Hamady Ndiaye Sacramento Kings
Serbia Nemanja Nedovic Golden State Warriors
Serbia Miroslav Raduljica Milwaukee Bucks
Slovenia Goran Dragic Phoenix Suns
Slovenia Beno Udrih New York Knicks
Spain Jose Manuel Calderon Dallas Mavericks
Spain Victor Claver Portland Trail Blazers
Spain Marc Gasol Memphis Grizzlies
Spain Pau Gasol Los Angeles Lakers
Spain Ricky Rubio Minnesota Timberwolves
Sweden Jonas Jerebko Detroit Pistons
Sweden Jeffrey Taylor Charlotte Bobcats
Switzerland Thabo Sefolosha Oklahoma City Thunder
Tanzania Hasheem Thabeet Oklahoma City Thunder
Turkey Omer Asik Houston Rockets
Turkey Ersan Ilyasova Milwaukee Bucks
Turkey Enes Kanter Utah Jazz
Turkey Hidayet “Hedo” Turkoglu Orlando Magic
U.S Virgin Islands Tim Duncan San Antonio Spurs
Ukraine Viacheslav Kravtsov Phoenix Suns
Ukraine Alex Len Phoenix Suns
Venezuela Greivis Vasquez Sacramento Kings

Images courtesy of and

Stats courtesy of NBA

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