Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokić are two of the largest stars within the NBA.Image: Getty Images
Thirty years after the Dream Team introduced the NBA to the world on the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, the league has transformed into something that the late David Stern can be pleased with. Basketball has truly change into a global game.
Because the All-NBA Teams were announced earlier this week, many could have ignored how the teams were composed, as a shift is going down that’s change into the norm over the previous couple of years.
Of the 15 players that were voted to the team, five of them were born outside of the US: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Greece), Luka Dončić (Slovenia), Nikola Jokić (Serbia), Joel Embiid (Cameroon), and Pascal Siakam (Cameroon). In 2021, the NBA featured at the least 109 International players from at the least 39 countries.
Actually, the last time the All-NBA Team only featured players born in the US was the 2015-2016 season which included the likes of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, DeAndre Jordan, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Paul George, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Drummond, Klay Thompson, and Kyle Lowry.
The 2018-2019 season also included five international players on the All-NBA Team, as six members made it in back-to-back seasons between 2020 and 2021. With Kyrie Irving and Ben Simmons each being born in Australia, it has given the international players slots on the team that some fans could have mistakenly thought were born here.
When Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro was named Sixth Man of the Yr earlier this month, it meant that he was the first American-born white player to win an award in a decade since Houston’s Ryan Anderson won Most Improved Player in 2012. An American-born white player hasn’t won MVP (Larry Bird) since 1986, captured Rookie of the Yr (Mike Miller) since 2001, or been named Defensive Player of the Yr (Mark Eaton) since 95.
International stars have taken over a lot that the last 4 MVP trophies have been awarded to players who weren’t born in America, as Jokić and Antetokounmpo have each won it twice. And with the addition of Embiid and Dončić, 4 of the five top vote-getters for the award this season were all international players.
By way of individual awards, there hasn’t been an American-born player to win MVP since James Harden won it in 2018. Three international players have won Rookie of the Yr since 2015 in Andrew Wiggins (Canada), Simmons, and Dončić. Between Marc Gasol (Spain), Rudy Gobert (France), and Antetokounmpo, Defensive Player of the Yr has been won five times by a global player since 2013. That’s the identical variety of non-Americans which have won Most Improved Player since 2006, which incorporates Boris Diaw (France), Hedo Türkoğlu (Turkey), Goran Dragić (Slovenia), Antetokounmpo, and Siakam.
On the 1992 Summer Games, Charles Barkley infamously said, “All I learn about Angola is Angola’s in trouble,” during an Olympics during which teams were lining as much as take pictures with Barkley and his teammates. That isn’t the case anymore as international stars are winning the identical awards that Barkley used to.