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Saturday, July 13, 2024

10 Greatest African Basketballers Ever Played in the NBA

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has witnessed legends from African play in their various games.

Even though the NBA features only teams from North America, they also take up international players, including those of Africa origin who make the continent proud with their skills and competence.

Here you will find the nine most extraordinary African basketball team members who have ever played in the NBA.

1. Hakeem Olajuwon

Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the most notable players in the NBA and the best African basketball player of all time. He was born in Lagos, Nigeria, on January 21, 1963.

He played center in the NBA from 1984 to 2002 haven played for teams like Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors.

He was given the nickname “the Dream” and has spent 18 years in the NBA before retiring in 2002. Though he started playing basketball later in his life, he has made marks and won many prizes.

Hakeem was awarded the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in the 1994 and 1995 NBA Championships, respectively.

Among his other honors is 12-time NBA All-Star, 6-time All-NBA first team, 2-time NBA champion, a basketball Olympic gold medal, among other awards.

Because of his numerous impacts in the NBA, in 2008, he included his name in the Basketball Hall of Fame. This is an accolade well deserved.

2. Manute Bol

Manute Bol is a Sudanese-American professional footballer born on the 16th of October, 1962 at present South Sudan and died in Virginia on 19th of June 2010.

At the 1962 NBA draft, the Washington Bullets selected him, and he played for many teams till his retirement in 1997.

In NBA history, he was known for his unusual tall figure of 7 feet 7 inches. He was a two times NBA blocks leader and a one-time NBA All-Defensive Second Team of 1986.

3. Steve Nash

Steve Nash, also called Stephen John Nash, was born on February 7, 1974, in Johannesburg, South Africa. He started his basketball playing career after the 1996 NBA draft and continued till 2015.

Steve Nash always wore jersey number 10, and he played in the position of a point guard. He has played for different teams, including Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks.

He is presently the coach of the Brooklyn Nets, a position which he took up in 2020. For 19 seasons, Nash played for NBA making many achievements.

This professional Canadian basketball player Steve Nash received his first award as the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the 2005 season. He received another of the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards in 2006.

Steve Nash has also received many other awards, including 2-time WCC player of the year, 5-time NBA assists leader, 8-time NBA All-star, and lots more.

He is a philanthropist contributing to influencing people in various parts of the world. He retired officially from basketball in 2015.

4. Amida Brimah

Amida Brimah is a Ghanaian-born NBA player that was born on February 11, 1994. He started his career as a basketball player in 2017 with Austin Spurs.

Ha has also played center for many teams like Partizan, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Indiana Pacers, and Mets de Guaynabo.

He has received numerous awards, including NBA G League champion, NBA G League All-Defensive Team, NCAA champion, and AAC Defensive Player of the Year.

5. DeSagana Diop

DeSagana Diop was born in Dakar, Senegal, on January 30, 1982. He began playing for the NBA in 2001 and retired in 2013 to start coaching for Utah Jazz.

His jersey number was 2, and he played for teams like Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, New Jersey Nets, and Charlotte Bobcats.

He became very popular after his selection in 2001 as the first team parade All-American. He has also won many accolades throughout his career.

6. Hasheem Thabeet

Hasheem Thabeet is a professional basketball player from Tanzania born on February 16, 1987.

He started making history in the NBA after Memphis Grizzlies drafted him in the 2009 NBA draft.

After his draft to the NBA, he has played for teams like Hsinchu JKO Pioneers (his present team), Fort Wayne Mad Ants, Yokohama B-Corsairs, Grand Rapids Drive, Oklahoma City Thunder, Portland Trail Blazers, Rio Grande Valley Vipers, Houston Rockets, and Dakota Wizards.

Before the draft, he has played for UConn winning a couple of awards. He has acquired other awards in his career life, the popular been NABC Defensive Player of the Year two times, NBA D-League all-defensive player of the year, among others.

Hasheem Thabeet presently plays center at the P.League. He was the 2nd overall pick in round 1 of the 2009 NBA draft, and it is a feat that few have acquired in Africa.

7. Alaa Abdelnaby

Alaa Abdelnaby is a native of Alexandria, Egypt, born on June 24, 1968. He was listed on the 1st round as the 25th overall pick in the 1990 NBA draft.

Until his retirement in 2000, he played for Idaho Stampede, Olympique Antibes, Omaha Racers, Papagou BC, Philadelphia 76ers, Sacramento Kings, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Portland Trail Blazers.

His jersey number includes 31, 5, 4, 30, while he played center and power forward. He won the 1990 third-team All-ACC awards and the 1986 fourth-team Parade All-America award.

Though he played for five years in the NBA league, he made 1465 points, 846 rebounds, and 85 assists.

8. Dikembe Mutombo

Dikembe Mutombo is a skilled basketball player born in Leopoldville, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, on June 25, 1966. In the year 1991 NBA draft, he was the 4th pick by Denver Nuggets.

He started living in the United States of America in 1987, where he obtained a degree in linguistics and diplomacy.

In the history of basketball in Africa, he is the top paid NBA player that played for 18 seasons and earned $143 million.

9. Luol Deng

Luol Deng has made a significant impact in the NBA since he was drafted in 2004. He is an African basketballer from Wau, Sudan, born on April 16, 1985.

During the second civil war in Sudan, his family left for England, but he later moved to the United States to study. In both his college and high school years, he played basketball and was drafted by Phoenix Suns.

He has also played for a couple of other NBA teams like the LA Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Miami Heat, and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Luol Deng played for 14 years in the NBA, making 2.3 assists, 15 points, and 6.1 rebounds on average before his retirement in 2019.

10. Joel Embiib

Joel Embiib plays power forward and center and was the 3rd overall pick at the 2014 NBA draft. Ha was born in Yaounde, Cameroon, on March 16, 1994.

Although he started playing basketball at 16 and has not spent up to 10 years in his career in NBA, he is ranked among the record top African players.

He is a star. Though he suffered injuries within 2016 and 2017, he returned in 2018, beating the 1982 record as the first team member in NBA to make seven blocks, seven assists, and 40 points.

His career awards and highlights include the NBA All-Star award four times, All-NBA second team three times, NBA all-defensive second team three times, NBA All-Rookie first team, and lots more.

Who was the first African-born NBA player?

In the recorded history of the NBA, the first African-born NBA player is Earl Lloyd, who joined on October 31, 1950, when he was just 21 years old.

Earl Lloyd was also the first black person to be a full-time NBA coach for the team at Detroit. In 2003, he was inaugurated into the Basketball Hall of Fame but died in 2015.

Who is the strongest NBA player in NBA history?

The NBA has witnessed lots of players exhibiting their prowess at matches, but among them all, we can note a few to be the strongest.

The top five strongest NBA players of recent times are Ben Wallace of Pistons, followed by Karl Malone of Jazz, Charles Barkley of 76ers, Shaquille O’Neil of Lakers, and Wilt Chamberlain of 76ers.

Who are the best basketballers in the world?

They are some basketball players that top the list as the best in the world. These players have made more impacts than others, inspiring emerging basketball stars.

The top ten basketballers in the world are LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Who is the ugliest NBA player ever?

The ugliest of all MBA players include Tyrone Hill, Sam Cassell, Paul Mokeski, Manute Bol, Popeye Jones, Chris Kaman, George Muresan, Donyell Marshall, Patrick Ewing, and Reggie Miller.

Who is the best 6’9 NBA player of all time?

Of all NBA 2K22 players with 6’9″ height, some have received up to 2 thousand ratings, while others have not. However, the best 6’9″ NBA player is Lebron James. Michael Jordan is the most notable and best player ever to play in the NBA, and in fact, he re-invented the game.

Bottom Line

Although they are basketball teams doing well in Africa, basketball players in Africa also play for NBA clubs to have different experiences.

International teams mostly scout them during tournaments. Thankfully, almost all of them do very well in their leagues, and their achievements speak for them.

Recently, the world has been experiencing many emerging stars from Africa playing at NBA, and this is a good sign. Nigeria and Senegal are the most African countries with NBA players.

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