Countries With Most NBA Players Born Outside the U.S.

min read
Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns of the National Basketball Association dribbling the against the Washington Wizards.
(Wikimedia Commons/Keith Allison)
Anatoly Pimentel @AnatolyPimentel Oct 31, 2023, 4:20 AM
  • Here are five countries with the most NBA players outside of the U.S.
  • Canada leads the list.
  • Other countries on the list are France, Serbia, Australia, and Nigeria.

It is very evident that the NBA is a global sport as the number of international players competing has grown significantly throughout the years. These international players not only played competitively among their American counterparts, but they also excelled on the big stage by collecting individual accolades such as the MVP and Rookie of the Year awards. This made NBA betting lines more exciting.

In recent seasons, two international players won MVP honors, Giannis Antetokounmpo from Greece (2019 and 2020), and Nikola Jokic of Serbia (2021 and 2022) bagged the prestigious award. Antetokounmpo’s two MVP awards have helped Milwaukee make the list of NBA teams with most MVP winners. Additionally, Ben Simmons from Australia (2018) and Luka Doncic of Slovenia (2019) became the Rookie of the Year awardees. This feat by international players gives more dynamic to NBA odds.

The question now is, which among the countries outside the U.S. have produced the most NBA players? Let’s find out the top five countries here.

Canada – 57 players

Canada has the most players so far who played in the NBA. With 57 athletes, they are the leading country in this category. Steve Nash is arguably the biggest star that they have ever produced as he won back-to-back MVP awards in 2005 and 2006 as a member of the Phoenix Suns. Today, Canada is still well represented with the likes of Andrew Wiggins, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort, Dillon Brooks, Chris Boucher and Tristan Thompson.

France – 40 players

Following Canada in the list is the European powerhouse, France, which have 40 players in the NBA. Their most successful player is Tony Parker, who won four championships with the San Antonio Spurs in his career. Rudy Gobert has taken the lead for the French contingent by winning three Defensive Player of the Year honors so far and becoming a force inside the paint area. Other notable names which suit up in various teams are Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Frank Ntilikina. 

Serbia – 30 players

Former two-time NBA MVP Nikola Jokic has proved that Serbian players can be at par with the best basketball players in the NBA. This is also why the other 29 players have graced the league’s court. Aside from Jokic, other outstanding players from Serbia who are now thriving with their NBA teams are big man Boban Marjanovic, sharp-shooting forward Bogdan Bogdanovic, Aleksej Pokusevski and forward Alen Smailagic.

Australia – 30 players

Although Kyrie Irving already represented the U.S.A. in international basketball tournaments (as he holds Australian citizenship) and doesn’t count as an Australian playing in the NBA, the country still has a formidable lineup of players who are playing in the NBA. Andrew Bogut is the most recent Aussie basketball player after being drafted by Milwaukee as the number one overall pick in 2005. Bogut captured one NBA title with the Golden State Warriors in 2015. Other current Australian talents in the league include Ben Simmons, Patty Mills, Matisse Thybulle and Joe Ingles.

Nigeria – 29 players

Representing Africa and cracking a spot in the top five countries with the most NBA players born outside the U.S. is Nigeria. The country has already produced NBA legend Hakeem Olajuwon and other former players like Michael Olowokandi, Obinna Ezekie, and Kelenna Azubuike, but there is a new generation of talents fresh from the country. Some of the notable Nigerian NBA players who are playing in the league today include Precious Achiuwa of the Toronto Raptors, Charles Bassey of the San Antonio Spurs, Jordan Nwora of the Indiana Pacers, Josh Okogie of the Phoenix Suns, and Gabe Vincent of the Los Angeles Lakers.

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About the Author

Anatoly Pimentel

Read More @AnatolyPimentel

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.

Anatoly Pimentel is an NBA and MMA writer previously featured in ASEAN Sports, Asian Persuasion MMA, and Overtime Heroics MMA. He graduated from Adamson University with a B.A in Communication and is a Web Content Writer for BetMGM.