- Some of the biggest names in the NBA – including five of last year’s All-Star selections – hail from countries other than the United States.
- The NBA trend of increasing the number of foreign-born players year after year appears to be coming to an end.
- International representation in the NBA reached an all-time high 25.1% last year and the year before, but this year is down to 24.0% of all players.
Between Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, Milwaukee Bucks star and MVP favorite Giannis Antetokounmpo, and third-round draft pick Luka Doncic, some of the biggest names in the NBA belong to foreign-born players.
But for the first time since 2011, the number of international players in the league dropped by more than a full percentage point from the previous year. This comes after international representation in the NBA reached an all-time high 25.1% last year and the year before.
Based on opening night rosters for each NBA team this year, 108 players – or 24.0% of plays in the league – come from a record-tying 41 countries outside of the United States. An additional six players from five different countries signed to two-way contracts, meaning that they will spend the majority of the season playing in the NBA G League but can spend up to 45 days with their parent team. All 30 NBA teams have at least one international player on their roster.
- Shayanne Gal/Business Insider
Even if the trend of increasing the number of foreign-born players in the league year after year has finally come to an end, the influence international players have over the league remains strong. Eleven of the foreign-born players in the league this season have been NBA All-Stars, five of whom were selected to the 2017-18 All-Star roster. Given the fact that the No. 1 NBA Draft pick has been foreign-born in five of the last nine years, the trend of top NBA players hailing from around the globe does not appear to be ending anytime soon.