5 European NBA Players That Changed History

The best basketball league in the world does not only possess players from the US and Canada. Sometimes, new blood has to be brought into the mix to make the game more interesting. Like with the Betsafe bonus code, it does not matter where you come from, as long as you can make it count. And these European basketball stars did just that.

Each of the entries on this list was more than impressive not only in their original clubs but the international scene as well, which is why the league was so eager to get its hands on them. Here are five European players that cemented their names in NBA history.

Vlade Divac

Divac is one of seven players in NBA history to record 13,000 points, 9,000 rebounds, 3,000 assists, and 1,500 blocked shots. Most of the Serb’s playing career was in the NBA. Arguably the first European player to have a real impact on the league, Divac was drafted by the Lakers in 1989. Vlade Divac is 4th in Lakers history, one-time NBA All-Star, and one of five players born in Europe to play at least 1,000 games.

Medija centar Beograd / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

Drazen Petrovic

The only late entry on our list is Drazen Petrovic, a basketball wonder that was taken from us before his time in a car accident. The Croatian shooting guard played for Portland and New Jersey. Portland did not agree with his style of play and did not make full use of the aggressive attacker. With New Jersey, he almost immediately became a leader with over 20 points per game. In addition to that, his teammates marveled at his ability to quickly recover from injuries. Had he not died, he would have ranked higher on our list. Still, he has done more than enough to be a part of NBA history.

Tony Parker

Born in Bruges, Belgium, William Anthony Parker Jr. is a retired French-American basketball star. He was the NBA champion four times, NBA All-Star 6 times, and even the NBA skills challenge champion in 2012. He is 527 points short of hitting the 20k-point mark and retired in 2019. Currently, he is one of the owners of ASVEL Basket. Arguably the best French basketball player there ever was, Parker ended his career with the Charlotte Hornets.

Keith Allison / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) – cropped

Pau Gasol

The Spaniard signed on for 6 NBA teams in his career, including the Lakers and the Bulls. He won the Championship two times for the Lakers and his speed was remarkable given his size. He scored over 550 double-doubles in his career and he is most effective as a passer and blocker. At the time of writing, the six-time All-Star seems to be done with his NBA career, going back to Barcelona after being waived off by the Portland Trail Blazers.

Dirk Nowitzki

No one can come close to the number one on this list – Dirk Nowitzki. The German power forward/center played for the Dallas Mavericks for over 20 years, which is a feat in and of itself. What separates him from other basketball stars is his accuracy – 88% of his free throws made their mark and he is the sixth player in NBA history, as well as the first European, to score over 30,000 points in his career. His fadeaway was legendary and he was voted NBA MVP of the 2006–07 NBA season, again the first player from Europe to achieve this feat. In 2006, he won a Three-Point Contest and in 2011, he was instrumental in the Championship victory for the Mavericks.