NUMBER OF FOREIGN PLAYERS ON NBA ROSTERS SURPASSES 100 FOR FIRST TIME
Article from FIBA.com
The days are long gone when the NBA had just a handful of players from foreign lands.
When the league tips off the 2014-15 season on Tuesday with three games, there will be 101 international players from 37 countries and territories on opening night rosters.
Not only has the NBA surpassed the century mark regarding the number of players from outside the United States, but it has also shattered last year's record of 92 foreigners on rosters.
The country that now ranks number one with players in the NBA (after the United States) is Canada with 13.
Among the Canadian NBA contingent is this past summer's No. 1 overall draft pick, Andrew Wiggins of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Wiggins but then took the rare step of trading him to Minnesota as part of a deal to land T-Wolves star and USA international Kevin Love.
Foreign players have made a dramatic impact on the game over the years.
Both Dirk Nowitzki of Germany and Pau Gasol of Spain have captured titles, and Nowitzki has been the league's MVP.
In the San Antonio Spurs team that won last year's title were Tony Parker and Boris Diaw of France, Argentina’s Manu Ginobili, Canada's Cory Joseph, Brazil's Tiago Splitter and Australia's Mills and Aron Baynes.
Diaw and three other French NBA players competed at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain and finished third to reach the podium.
France have 10 players in the league this year.
The addition of Joe Ingles and Dante Exum to the Utah Jazz roster means that Australia now have eight players in the league while Brazil continue to have a large presence with seven.
Among the Brazilians on NBA rosters is Lucas "Bebe" Nogueira, who has joined the Toronto Raptorsafter playing professionally in Madrid, Spain, with Estudiantes.
Slovenia now have three players in the NBA.
Among them is Zoran Dragic, who has left Unicaja Malaga to join his brother Goran with the Phoenix Suns.
An international basketball legend, the late Drazen Petrovic, made Croatia proud as one of the best Europeans ever to make it in the NBA.
A couple of newcomers who will fly the flag for Croatia this year are national team stars Bojan Bogdanovic (Brooklyn Nets) and Damjan Rudez (Indiana Pacers).
Coaches from abroad have also made headlines by moving to the NBA.
American-born David Blatt has taken the reins of Cleveland and Ettore Messina has accepted an offer to be on the San Antonio coaching staff.
Blatt, a long-time coach of Russia's national team, is a naturalized Israeli. He led Maccabi Tel Aviv to the Turkish Airlines Euroleague title several months ago.
Messina coached CSKA Moscow and enjoyed a lot of success with the Russian giants. He had previously led Virtus Bologna of his native Italy to European glory.