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Saturday, July 13, 2024

Top 10 African Basket Ballers Presently Playing in the NBA

Here, we have the list of the top 10 current NBA teams from Africa, plus some of their great individual awards like defensive player-of-year or most improved player for this season.

It may include those playing over the last five decades, but presently still that super champions.

You may have no idea or probably not know what they’re doing that placed them ahead of others. That notwithstanding, if you read through this article, you’ll find out their career statistics, awards, and many other things that make them rank high.

1. Precious Achiuwa 

Birth Place: Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Date of birth: September 19, 1999

Current Team: Miami Heat

NBA Draft: 2020 / Round: 1 / Pick: 20th overall

Playing career: 2020–present

Precious Achinuwa is an African professional basketball player from Nigeria. He has traded from Miami Heat to the Raptors in the sign-and-trade at the National Basketball Association.

After finishing his high school career at Florida’s Montverde Academy, Precious started participating in international basketball tournaments. Undoubtedly, this basketball player is one of the basketball superstars that are presently contributing to the good relationship Africa has with the NBA.

He played for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association and has won over 14 points in several rebounds.

Precious Achinuwa was drafted 20th overall in the 75th season of the National Basketball Association (NBA) – 2020–21 NBA season by the Miami Heat professional basketball team.

2. Benjamin Bentil

Birth Place: Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana

Date of birth: March 29, 1995

Current Team: Boston Celtics

NBA Draft: 2016 / Round: 2 / Pick: 51st overall

Playing career: 2016–present

The current African basketball stardom is Benjamin Bentil from Ghana. The Ghanaian star has earned a great deal of publicity since 2016 that he started featuring in the National Basketball Association.

Due to his determination and confidence, the Bahçeşehir Koleji of the Turkish Basketball Super League (BSL) selected him, and he was featured for two seasons.

However, these alone don’t define the career accomplishment of this young professional basketball player.

He has played for the NBA Development League, Dallas Mavericks, Atlanta Hawk, and Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association before his debut in his NBA career kicked off.

He was selected as the 51st overall by the Boston Celtics in the 2016 NBA draft (for the 2016–17 season).

Then again, during the 2017–18 seasons, Bentil was selected to participate in the NBA Summer League by the San Antonio Spurs. He signed a deal with the French professional basketball club Champagne Châlons-Reims Basket.  

3. Joel Awich 

Birth Place: Nairobi, Kenya

Date of birth: April 22, 1993

Current Team: Unrestricted Free Agent

NBA Draft: 2016 NBA Draft Recap in Brooklyn on June 23

Playing career: 2016–present

Awich Joel is a Kenya-born professional African basketball player who started his career in Nairobi in 2016. He has played for the Cal Poly Mustangs men’s basketball.

As far as the National Basketball Association goes, Awich Joel had made a wonderful performance at different levels of competitions.

But unfortunately, he was not selected by any team through the professional league’s draft of the 2016 NBA, making him an unrestricted free agents player without a team. He remains an eligible African NBA player that any team can select for future international tournaments.

4. Hasheem Thabeet

Birth Place: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Date of birth: February 16, 1987

Current Team: Memphis Grizzlies

NBA Draft: 2009 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall

Playing career: 2009–present

The 34-year old basketball shooting guard started his career in 2009. He’s a talented African player born in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and he spent most of his life in Houston, Texas.

He attended a private secondary school, Cypress Christian School (CCS), after which he carried o with his career in basketball playing for the Hsinchu Lioneers of the P. League.

After Thabeet’s high school years, he started developing a reputation for scoring a lot in several competitions. Spoting this success milestone, the Memphis Grizzlies picked him as the 2nd overall in the 2009 round of the NBA draft.

During that same season, he won the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in the triple-double performance finishing with ten blocks, 11 rebounds, and 15 points in total.

5. Abdel Nader

Birth Place: Alexandria, Egypt

Date of birth: September 25, 1993

Current Team: Boston Celtics

NBA Draft: 2016 / Round: 2 / Pick: 58th overall

Playing career: 2020–present

Born in Cairo, Egypt, Abdel Nader is an Egyptian-American professional basketball representing Africa at the National Basketball Association playing with Pheonix Suns.

During his secondary school days, he started playing college basketball some American teams in Illinois,, including the Iowa State Cyclones and Northern Illinois Huskies. 

He has participated in various NBA regular seasons and payoffs from 2017 to 2021. In his professional career, Abdel was selected by the Boston Celtics in the 2016 NBA draft with the 58th overall pick and has also played for Oklahoma City Thunder, Maine Red Claws, Boston Celtics, and Phoenix Suns.

6. Gorgui Dieng

Birth Place: Kébémer, Senegal

Date of birth: January 18, 1990

Position: Centre

Current Team: Utah Jazz

NBA Draft: 2013 / Round: 1 / Pick: 21st overall

Playing career: 2013–present

No doubt, a significant portion of international players in the NBA are from Africa. Gorgui Dieng is a talented player in NBA history and one of the best African star lists from Kébémer, Senegal, to play in the NBA.

Dieng join the Basketball without Borders team in South Africa after attending Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEEDS) Academy in Thies, Senegal. Before traveling to Huntington, West Virginia, he completed his high school education at Huntington Pres High School.

In his professional basketball career, he has played with many international teams such as Minnesota Timberwolves (2013–2020), Memphis Grizzlies (2020–2021), San Antonio Spurs (2021), and Atlanta Hawks (2021–present).

They picked him as the 21st overall to represent Senegal internationally during the 2013 NBA draft. His participation has acquired notable achievements not just for him but also for the country and the continent at large.

Gorgui, today, remains one of the African basketball players that have been inducted into the NBA hall of fame.

7. Buay Tuach 

Birth Place: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Date of birth: January 20, 1995

Position: Shooting guard / Small forward

League: British Basketball League

NBA Draft: 2017 / Undrafted

Playing career: 2017–present

Another current African basketball player on the list, Buay Tuach, was born in the capital city of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, and got his chance with the professional basketball team Westchester Knicks as a youth at the age of 22.

The Ethiopian- American basketball is a well-recognized player for the British Basketball League (BBL) and the London Lions.

Tuach with Westchester Knicks played for two years between 2018 and 2018, after getting undrafted by the British Basketball League and then traded to the Phoenix Hagen of the German ProA still as a youngster with a lot of potentials.

In 2017, specifically on October 21, Tuach was selected to play in the 2017 NBA G League Draft by the Long Island Nets that later renounced him on November 2 that same year.

On October 25, 2018, the American professional basketball team of the NBA G League, Westchester Knicks, announced that they had acquired this talented teenager. He played for them twice in the 2018 – 2019 seasons, after which the Westchester Knicks waived him due to the fracture he had on his right foot.

Finally, this young African basketball player signed in as a member of the London Lions, England, on January 10, 2020, to take part in the 2019 – 20 season.

8. Serge Ibaka

Birth Place: Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo

Date of birth: September 18, 1989

Position: Center/ Power forward

Teams: Seattle SuperSonics, Toronto Raptors, and others

NBA draft: 2008/ Round: 1/Pick: 24th overall

Playing career: 2006 – Present

Born in Brazzaville, DR Congo, Serge Jonas Ibaka Ngobila has displayed his Congolese pride in basketball tournaments and is always proud of his African roots on the international stage.

He began his career in the field in 2007 and was drafted the subsequent year by Supersonics, an NBA team in the Seattle SuperSonics and the processor of Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Congolese-Spanish professional basketball player has spent time with other teams, including the Orland Magic, CB L’Hospitalet, Ricoh Manresa, Real Madrid, Toronto Raptors, and Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

In his career as a basketball player, Serge as a member of the Toronto Raptors, won the first National Basketball Association (NBA) championship in 2019. Also, he acquired an honor, heading his league twice as a 3-time NBA All-Defensive First Team player.

Serge was selected with the 24th overall by the Seattle SuperSonic in the NBA draft of 2008 in New York City.

9. Pascal Siakam

Birth Place: Yaounde Cameroon

Date of birth: April 2, 1994

Position: Power forward

Current Team: Toronto Raptors

NBA Draft: 2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 27th overall

Playing career: 2016–present

Playing as a power forward, Pascal Siakam is a Cameroonian professional basketball player who started pursuing his career in 2016 with the Toronto Raptors of the NBA, known with the nickname “Spicy P.”

Following his one year excellent participation in 2017, leading the Toronto’s affiliate team in the NBA Development League (now referred to as G League), he won the annual award of the Finals Most Valuable Player,

Yet again, we won another honor for his team in 2019, the Most Improved Player Award, during the process of the 2019 NBA championship.

Pascal made his first All-NBA Team in 2020, appearing as a starter in the 2019-20 season; he was named the NBA All-Star for the 2019/2020 season.

Remarkably, this young Cameroonian professional basketball player notched 4 points and hauled in 9 rebounds in 21 minutes during the 2016-17 season as Toronto beat the Detroit Pistons. From 2016 till date, he has been one of the Cameroonians representing the continents at international events.

10. Chimezie Chukwudum Metu  

Birth Place: Los Angeles, California

Date of birth: March 22, 1997

Position: Power forward / Center

Current Team: San Antonio Spurs

NBA Draft: 2018 / Round: 2 / Pick: 49th overall

Playing career: 2018–present

Another African basketball superstar is Chimezie Chukwudum Metu –a Nigerian- American born in Los Angeles, California. He has been playing for a Californian professional basketball team known as Sacramento Kings in the NBA.

He participated in the USC Trojans men’s college basketball program, after which he was drafted with the 49th pick by the San Antonio Spurs to feature in the 2018 NBA draft. While spending time playing with the Spurs, they added him to the playing roster of the NBA Summer League.

Although he lost 108 – 121 to Portland Trail Blazers in his debut with two rebounds, 2 points, and a block for about 3 minutes, Metu never made efforts.

He plays both for the local and international team, including in his county’s basketball team in the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the Sacramento Kings California.

Who is the best African American basketball player?

Earl Lloyd may not be the best in history; he’s the pioneer African American basketball player in the history of the NBA, though he is late. Most beleived that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player ever to play in the NBA.

What do Africans play in the NBA?

African has many talents who participate actively in the NBA, but the famous ones with exceptional impacts are Dikembe Mutombo, Serge Ibaka, Steve Nash, and Luc Mbah a Moute.

What Nigerian players are in the NBA?

The 8 Nigerian squads participating actively in the NBA are Precious Achiuwa, Jahlil Okafor, Nnamdi Vincent, Caleb Agada, Ike Nwamu, Josh Okogie, Obi Emegano, Miye Oni, Ekpe Udoh, Kezie Okpala, and Chimezie Metu.

Which African country has the most NBA players?

In Africa, Nigeria has the most NBA players, totaling 28, inclusive of 17 foreign-born Nigerians. However, in the world record, Canada has the highest with a total of 51, followed by France with 37, with both countries taking in the citizens who’reborn in foreign countries.

Bottom Line

Most players from most countries feature in the professional basketball league of North America, NBA. However, a significant number of Africans from different continents have made names in the league. 

Note that our list does not account for the retired players; we carefully selected the ten current players unbiased to cover the major African countries, though some countries do not have NBA representatives currently.

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