Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was recently asked about the best international basketball players in the history of the game, and gave a somewhat surprising and unbiased answer for his top pick.
Kobe chose to go with Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks over teammate Pau Gasol. Although it’s hard to argue that Nowitzki hasn’t earned the distinction as the best foreign player of all-time, plenty of players deserve to be in the conversation including Gasol.
It’d be safe to say the Tony Parker should also be considered with three NBA titles and an NBA Finals MVP while playing for the San Antonio Spurs throughout his entire career in the league. Parker has never put a franchise on his back the way Tim Duncan has done during his time with the Spurs, but that may change once Duncan and Manu Ginobili retire in the near future.
It’ll be interesting to see if the debate changes in the years to come with the emergence of Marc Gasol and Parker potential success in the post Duncan-Gregg Popovich era in San Antonio.
As of right now, it’s difficult to disagree with Kobe’s assessment of the greatest foreign-born player of all-time. With more and more great players coming to the United States every year, Nowitzki will have some competition for the distinction down the road.
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